Should the Harvey Weinstein jury really be forbidden to review books?

From The Guardian:

As the jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial begin their deliberations, his defence lawyers launched a last-minute bid to to get one juror discharged – by turning their attention to her reading material.

On Tuesday, Weinstein’s lawyer Damon Cheronis complained that juror No 11 was reading “books on predatory older men” and reviewing them online on Goodreads during the proceedings, reports Vulture. Cheronis argued that this was in violation of the court order not to consume media related to the trial, and sought to have her replaced on the jury.

. . . .

The allegations against Weinstein and the #MeToo movement they triggered did create a sensation in publishing, from the behind-the-scenes stories of reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey (She Said) and Ronan Farrow (Catch and Kill), to fictional interpretations such as This Is Pleasure by Mary Gaitskill and Kirsten Roupenian’s You Know You Want This.

In the case of Juror No 11, the book was My Dark Vanessa, the controversial debut by Kate Elizabeth Russell in which an adult woman reevaluates the sexual relationship she had with her teacher as a teenager. The Observer called it “an inversion of Lolita for the #MeToo generation … a book that asks what we have lost and gained in an era that has revolutionised the way we think about sex and power”. Juror No 11 wrote that she “liked a lot about this novel”, praising Russell’s handling of the difficult subject, but found flaws with characterisation in terms of how it related to the central theme.

In response to questioning from Justice James Burke, the juror confirmed she was currently reading Vanessa Springora’s memoir Le Consentement, about being preyed on by the writer Gabriel Matzneff at the age of 13 – but, she said, she had not reviewed it yet.

Justice Burke denied the motion to have the juror discharged, saying “she apparently is simply reading the book”. The same juror is an author herself, and had at the selection stage been questioned over a book she had written that Cheronis argued was about “predatory older men”. (It has elsewhere been praised as a striking debut.)

Link to the rest at The Guardian

1 thought on “Should the Harvey Weinstein jury really be forbidden to review books?”

  1. It’s interesting how juries have changed over the last 700+ years from a group who were supposed to bring their knowledge of the crime and the individuals involved to the process to one where it seems that the less they know about anything related to the crime, the happier the lawyers.

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