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Harvey Weinstein jury deadlocked in historic Me Too trial that could see disgraced producer jailed for life

THE jury in the historic Harvey Weinstein "Me Too" trial appear to be deadlocked over charges that see the producer jailed for life.

The panel of seven men and five women made a request today to be hung on at least one of the charges at the New York hearing.

But the jury were told they must go away and deliberate further, stretching their discussions into the end of the fourth day.

A unanimous guilty verdict would be required to see the movie mogul jailed for life.

Weinstein, who never took the stand during his trial, denied the five charges including rape and sexual assault.

He pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former actress Jessica Mann.

There was one count each of first and third-degree rape, one count of a criminal sex act and two counts of predatory sexual assault.

These accusations are part of many by dozens of women against the Hollywood producer which drove the momentum behind the #MeToo movement.

Within the first 40 minutes of deliberations on Tuesday, jurors sent a note asking several questions on instructions and legal definitions of the charges.

On Wednesday jurors send a note asking to re-examine Haley's account alleging Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 after he got her a job working on Project Runway - a fashion show he produced.

By Thursday, the jury still had not reached a verdict after a third day of intense deliberations focussed on Annabella Sciorra's Jan. 23 testimony.

This morning, her allegations that Weinstein raped her were reread to jurors, honing in on the defense's cross-examination of the Sopranos actress.

Weinstein's lead defense attorney was previously blasted by a prosecutor for penning an op-ed in Sunday's Newsweek that directly addressed the jury ahead of their deliberations.

Donna Rotunno told the jury "to do what they know is right and was expected of them from the moment they were called upon to serve their civic duty in a court of law".

She added: "The mocking of Mr. Weinstein’s walker, the unflattering courtroom-artist sketches of his body, the countless critical op-eds and biased stories, and the convenient timing of the politically-motivated charges in Los Angeles were all designed to pre-determine his guilt."

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said Rotunno’s op-ed was "completely, 100 percent inappropriate behavior. It borders on tampering with the jury."

She added: "There’s no way that the sanctity and purity of a jury trial can ever exist and continue if every party is permitted to just go ahead and publicly say something that they would not be able to ... in court."

The prosecutor's asked Judge James Burke to instruct jurors to ignore the op-ed, but he refused the request.

The judge specifically instructed attorneys not to give any media interviews before the trial and restated the ban he imposed.

Judge Burke told Rotunno: "I would caution you about the tentacles of your public relations juggernaut."

However, Rotunno had also previously spooken to the New York Times podcast "The Daily" in the middle of the trial.

Rotunno told reporter Megan Twohey she had not been sexually assaulted "because I would never put myself in that position."

Prosecutors have argued during the trial that Weinstein was a "seasoned" sexual predator who preyed on young, aspiring actresses.

Prosecutors built their case on graphic and distressing testimony from Weinstein's accusers - including three other women who are not part of the criminal case but were allowed to take the witness stand because they claim he used the same tactics on them.

Under New York law, a person can be found guilty of predatory sexually assault if they committed certain sex offenses in the past - even if it doesn't result in criminal charges.

His defense team said his actions consensual and said the prosecution has failed to present any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts.

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times published a story detailing allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.

By May 2018, Weinstein was charged with rape and several accounts of sexual abuse against two women.

Weinstein's New York trial was due to start in September 2019, but got pushed back to January.

The same day Weinstein's trial starts in New York, he is charged Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assualting another in separate incidents in 2013.