In an average trial, jury selection is a balancing act with the goal “to find and eliminate unfavorable jurors,” according to litigation site The Jury Expert. In a high-profile situation like Harvey Weinstein’s ongoing rape trial—in which the allegations involve well-known celebrities and have been the subject of many stories and best-selling books by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, and Ronan Farrow—the process is undoubtedly more complicated.
Earlier this week, for example, the Associated Press reported that supermodel Gigi Hadid was among the potential jurors, but after a second round of questioning yesterday, Hadid was officially dismissed, per NBC News. That decision was perhaps unsurprising, given that Hadid admitted she hadn’t just met Weinstein before; she’d also met potential witness Salma Hayek.
While that criteria for dismissal seems obvious, part of Weinstein lawyer Damon Cheronis’ line of questioning might come as a surprise, especially for anyone who’s indulged in a USA Network holiday weekend binge-watch. According to Variety, Cheronis—”with a smirk on his face and a charming laugh”—posed a question to 20 potential jurors: “Does anybody watch Law & Order?”
Cheronis’ Law & Order-related questions didn’t stop there. When one woman admitted to watching the franchise, most often Law & Order: SVU, Cheronis asked, “Do you root for the prosecution or the defense when you watch Law & Order?” (Her reply was well-played: “I root for the jury.”) He also asked the panel whether or not the show is good, to which one potential juror replied, “It’s mindless.”
He went on to ask whether anyone had read Farrow or Kantor and Twohey’s books or seen any documentaries about Weinstein, but nobody on the panel claimed to have done so. Ultimately, per Variety, seven jurors were chosen, none of whom were Law & Order fans.
For those dismissed jurors, it’s inevitable that all of this will be turned into a ripped-from-the-headlines Law & Order episode soon enough.