Supermodel Gigi Hadid on Thursday was officially dismissed from jury selection in the Harvey Weinstein rape and sexual assault trial, one of scores of New Yorkers passed over during seven days of efforts to find an impartial jury in the high-profile case.
Hadid was spotted leaving a lower Manhattan courtroom on Thursday morning.
Meanwhile, seven prospective jurors were chosen for the trial on Thursday, according to a press pool report. The seven jurors include four African-Americans (three women and a man) and three white men, according to the report.
"This trial is not a referendum on the #MeToo movement," Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke told a group of prospective jurors. "It is not a referendum on sexual harassment ... The issue is not if you feel strongly about those subjects but only if those beliefs would prevent you from deciding the facts of the case."
He added, "The sole issue is for you to decide whether or not the defendant committed certain acts which constitute a particular crime ... and decide whether or not the facts have been proven."
Hadid, who studied criminal psychology at New York City’s New School, turned up unexpectedly in a prospective jury pool on Monday. She told a judge she believed she could “keep an open mind on the facts” even though she has met Weinstein and Salma Hayek, who, along with actress Charlize Theron, is on a list that includes the names of dozens of people that could either be called as a witness or whose name could come up at the trial.
Hadid's dismissal came on the same day that defense attorneys renewed their bid for a change of venue, citing a “carnival” atmosphere that has included celebrity press conferences, a flash mob demonstrating outside of court and bombshell rape and sexual assault charges being filed against Weinstein in Los Angeles on the first day of his New York trial.
Defense attorneys filed the motion with an appellate court in lower Manhattan and oral arguments were heard in the appellate court Thursday afternoon.
Defense attorney John Esposito acknowledged that wherever the case was hypothetically moved "the press is going to follow," but said what matters is "the degree" of media attention and the "environment in which the trial unfolds."
"New York is the media center of the world," Esposito argued.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Valerie Figueredo argued that any change of venue at this point would prove "disruptive."
She said that hundreds of prospective jurors have already been interviewed, witnesses' travel schedules have been set and we are "ready to go now."
The bid to halt the trial process was denied by the appellate court, which said it would rule on the change of venue by early next week.
The 30-page defense motion seeking a change of venue includes pictures of reporters lining the hallways outside of the courtroom and press conferences held outside of court, including one headlined by alleged Weinstein victims Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette.
Weinstein's defense attorneys describe the scenario unfolding each day in and outside of Manhattan Supreme Court as a “perfect storm of prejudice.”
“This case gave rise to a social movement, involves high-ranking politicians and celebrity activists, and has led to the production of movies, books and so-called documentaries,” according to the lawyers' motion.