Model Gigi Hadid called as potential Weinstein juror

American model Gigi Hadid appeared as a potential juror in disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial on January 13, 2020 adding a fresh celebrity twist to the high-profile proceedings. (AFP)
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Updated 13 January 2020

Model Gigi Hadid called as potential Weinstein juror

  • Hadid raised her hand when the judge asked the dozens appearing for jury selection whether any of them knew Weinstein
  • “I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts,” Hadid told the Manhattan court

NEW YORK: American model Gigi Hadid appeared as a potential juror in disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial on Monday, adding a fresh celebrity twist to the high-profile proceedings.
Hadid, 24, raised her hand in the New York state court when Judge James Burke asked the dozens appearing for jury selection whether any of them knew Weinstein or his legal team.
“I have met the defendant,” said Hadid, sitting in the jury box.
Burke then asked her if she could be fair and impartial. “Yes,” she replied.
Hadid — who has modeled for a host of top fashion brands including Chanel and Victoria’s Secret — said she had also met Salma Hayek.
The Mexican-born actress has accused Weinstein, 67, of sexual harassment and may be mentioned in court during the trial.
“I think I’m still able to keep an open mind on the facts,” Hadid told the Manhattan court.
Hadid appeared alongside 120 or so other jury candidates as pre-screening of potential jurors entered its second week.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are trying to select 12 jurors and six alternates. They have already questioned more than 500 candidates.
Scores have already been excused after saying they could not be impartial due to heightened publicity surrounding the trial, which is expected to run until early March.
Following her appearance, Hadid was due to fill out a questionnaire before returning later this week for further screening.
It is likely, however, that the defense would challenge the selection of a social media star with more than 51 million Instagram followers.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault by more than 80 women since accusations against him ignited the #MeToo movement in October 2017.
But he is being tried on charges related to just two. He faces life in prison if found guilty of predatory sexual assault.
Opening arguments are expected to begin on January 22.


Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

Updated 20 January 2020

Ukraine to press for plane crash black boxes as Iran minister visits

  • Ukraine’s foreign minister said returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash
  • The plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran

KIEV: Ukraine will press Iran to hand over the black boxes from the crash of a Ukrainian passenger plane at a meeting with a visiting Iranian delegation on Monday, Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told reporters.
Ukraine would convey the message to visiting Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami, that returning the black boxes would show that Iran wanted an unbiased investigation of the crash, Prystaiko said.
“His main task is to apologize and acknowledge what happened. We hope that we can go a little further than just political discussions and discuss practical problems. Among them in particular is the return of the black boxes,” Prystaiko said.
Iran had said on Sunday it was trying to analyze the black boxes from the airliner its military shot down this month, denying an earlier report it would hand them to Ukraine. All 176 aboard the flight died.
“At first they stated that they were handing them over, then the same person stated that they were not handing them over. This created some misunderstanding in Ukraine and we were starting to be asked: are they being handed over or not?“
Many of those killed had were Iranians with dual citizenship, but Iran does not recognize dual nationality and on Monday said it would treat the victims as Iranian nationals.
Canada, which had 57 citizens on the flight, said there were still no firm plans for downloading the recorders. Ottawa and other capitals have called for the black boxes to be sent abroad.
The Jan. 8 plane disaster has heightened international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long-running dispute with the United States over its nuclear program and its influence in the region that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.
The Iranian military has said it downed Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 in error in the aftermath of tit-for-tat strikes by the United States and Iran. But authorities delayed admitting this, prompting days of protests on Iran’s streets.
Ukraine held a ceremony at Kiev’s Boryspil airport on Sunday as the bodies of 11 citizens, including nine crew, were returned to Ukraine.