02 Feb 2023

'Braveheart' star Mel Gibson won't testify in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial

Los Angeles, Nov 17 (IANS) Director-actor Mel Gibson, will not be called to testify in Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial, by the prosecutors.

Gibson would have been brought onto the stand to corroborate parts of a story from a Jane Doe in the case, who said she confided in Gibson after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by Weinstein, reports Variety.

Jane Doe was Gibson's massage therapist. She told the jury that the 'Braveheart' actor had become a close friend, so she told him about the alleged incident during an appointment. She said Gibson offered to help and asked if she wanted to call the police or find a lawyer.

"He was the first person that I had finally opened up to," Jane Doe #3 said during her testimony earlier this month, crying on the stand.

According to Variety, earlier in the trial, a journalist and producer, Allison Weiner, who is also friends with Gibson, testified to corroborate that Jane Doe #3 had opened up to Gibson about Weinstein allegedly assaulting her. On the stand, Weiner explained that Gibson had connected her to Jane Doe #3 in an effort to potentially help her and, in 2015, they had an off-the-record phone call to talk about her story.

The judge had ruled during a pre-trial hearing that the actor could be called by prosecutors to testify, despite Weinstein's defence arguing against it. Weinstein's attorneys brought up racist and anti-semitic remarks Gibson had made and the fact that Gibson has had ill will towards Weinstein, ever since the release of 'The Passion of the Christ', which received criticism for playing on anti-semitic themes.

"Someone with white-supremacist values might have no problem perjuring himself against a Jewish defendant," Weinstein's attorney, Mark Werksman, said in court last month. Weinstein's company, Miramax Books, published a book in 2004, titled "Perspectives on the Passion of the Christ," that challenged Gibson's film. His attorney told the judge that "this created a feud between Mr Gibson and Mr Weinstein."

Variety further states that the judge ultimately ruled that Weinstein's attorneys would have been able to ask Gibson about any animosity towards Weinstein, but she barred the defense from being able to ask about any of Gibson's racist and anti-semitic statements, noting that it wasn't relevant to Weinstein's sexual assault case.

Prosecutors confirmed in court that Gibson would not be testifying, but were not able to provide any further explanation. The prosecution is expected to rest their case this week.