Mel Gibson to testify against Harvey Weinstein but can’t be questioned about past antisemitic remarks
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Controversial actor Mel Gibson can now testify at Harvey Weinstein's trial, ruled Judge Lisa B Lench on Friday, October 14. 'The Patriot' actor was challenged by Weinstein's legal team led by attorney Mark Werksman that it does not qualify as a "fresh complaint," which allows the introduction of evidence of sexual assault or another crime if the victim reported it to another individual voluntarily and relatively instantly once it happened, as per California law. Werksman said stating the law, “We would ask that Mel Gibson not be allowed to testify.”
Gibson, 66, was among several witnesses, and a well-known name revealed by the Los Angeles Superior Court. As per the ruling, the 'Braveheart' actor is now permitted to testify in support of his masseuse and a friend, who is currently referred as Jane Doe No 3 at the trial. The movie mogul is accused of committing sexual battery by restraint against the woman, one of 11 rape and sexual assault counts in the trial against Weinstein.
Prosecutors have alleged that after getting a massage from the woman at a hotel in Beverly Hills in May 2010, Weinstein followed her into the bathroom and masturbated while he was naked. The 70-year-old producer had pleaded not guilty and claims there was no non-consensual sexual activity.
Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez appealed to the court that she would like to call both Gibson and Allison Weiner to testify, where the latter, allegedly spoke with the woman and Gibson dating back in 2015. As per Martinez, Jane Doe No 3, had approached Gibson and opened up in detail about the alleged sexual assault, which was later shared by Gibson to Weiner. Martinez claims though that Gibson did not remember the timing of the exchange, but Weiner remembered hearing it from Gibson in 2015. This as per the prosecutor is crucial to the timing of the case, as per Yahoo News.
Judge Lench in her verdict allowing Gibson to testify in the case pointed out that relevance of Gibson’ s testimony will entirely be determined by how the accuser describes the exchange with him when she takes a stand and she can choose to disagree with the version at that time.
Interestingly, Weinstein's attorney Werksman brought up Gibson’s 2006 arrest and presented an audio recording from 2010 where Gibson was heard making racist attacks on his then girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. However, Judge Lench observed that a wide discussion of Gibson’s racism was irrelevant. She noted that though the actor can be questioned if he had a personal bias and animus toward the accused. Werskman said to court, "Any evidence of Mr Gibson’s racism or antisemitism would give rise to a bias against my client, who challenged him.”
On Monday morning, October 17 the judge and attorneys will resume the jury selection process, and opening statements are scheduled to begin on October 24. It is expected that the trial will run for eight weeks.