A Los Angeles judge ruled on Friday that Mel Gibson can be called to testify against Harvey Weinstein in the disgraced movie mogul’s rape and sexual assault trial.
Judge Lisa B. Lench ruled that prosecutors can call the actor to the witness stand to corroborate allegations made by Jane Doe 3, who claims Weinstein sexually assaulted her after giving him a message at his hotel back in 2010. Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez told the judge that Jane Doe 3 told Gibson about the alleged sexual assault while she was giving the Lethal Weapon star a message.
That being said, Martinez said Gibson — who is also friends with Jane Doe 3 — doesn’t recall the timing of that conversation and, as such, also wants to call Allison Weiner as another witness. Martinez said Weiner remembers speaking to Gibson and Jane Doe 3 about the alleged incident in 2015. The deputy D.A. said Weiner’s testimony is relevant to establish timing. The judge agreed, and will allow Weiner to testify but only to establish a timeframe.
As for the defense, Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman,requested that they be allowed to ask Gibson about racist and anti-Semitic statements he has made over the years, including anti-Semitic statements allegedly made to Winona Ryder. Gibson vehemently denied in June 2020 about making anti-Semitic statements to Ryder, telling ET it’s “100 percent untrue.” He was also arrested in 2006, during which the Oscar winner was picked up for driving while in intoxicated in Malibu, California, and subsequently was recorded making disparaging remarks toward a female officer and saying things like, “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”
Werksman argued asking Gibson about his past racist and anti-Semitic statements is relevant because “it goes to his unwillingness to grant equal status to someone who is not of his ilk.” The attorney added, “[Gibson] has a white-supremacist view. Someone with white-supremacist values might have no problem perjuring himself against a Jewish defendant.”
The attorney went on to claim that a feud emerged between Gibson and Weinstein over the release of the Gibson-directed 2004 film Passion of the Christ. Werksman said the feud stemmed from Weinstein’s publishing company, Miramax Books, releasing a book purportedly debunking the the film’s anti-Semitic overtones and false depiction of Jews.
Weinstein’s attorney argued that “any evidence of Mr. Gibson’s racism or anti-Semitism would give rise to a bias against my client, who challenged him.”
The judge denied the defense’s request they be allowed to ask Gibson about his past statements, but did allow the defense to ask Gibson whether he holds a grudge and/or has or had ill will against Weinstein.
The 70-year-old, who appeared in court Friday confined to a wheelchair and wearing jail garb, faces a slew of sexual assault charges made by five women claiming the incidents occurred between 2004 and 2013. Weinstein has pled not guilty. The hearing comes nearly two months after the New York State Court of Appeals granted Weinstein an appeal of his 2020 rape conviction, which resulted in a 23-year prison sentence.
Weinstein’s L.A. case on Friday narrowed down the list of potential jurors to 160. The case resumes Monday for the discussion of jury panel dismissals.
In the U.S., help is available for survivors of sexual violence and their families. RAINN offers resources at 1-800-656-HOPE and on their website, www.rainn.org