New York (AP) - After the questioning of witnesses to the prosecution, an end to the sensational rape process against ex-film mogul Harvey Weinstein is in sight.

In the coming days of the session, the defense of the 67-year-old now wants to present his own witnesses and evidence to relieve Weinstein from the New York court. It is not out of the question that the accused will testify himself. According to observers, the process that has been running since the beginning of January could therefore come to an end in the next two weeks.

The prosecutor's office completed the questioning of its witnesses in the trial on Thursday. In the past more than two weeks, the twelve jurors had heard drastic statements from six women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault and rape. There were also other witnesses and a psychiatrist to support the allegations. Weinstein's defense around the lawyer Donna Rotunno tried cross-examination to portray the witnesses as untrustworthy and thus sow doubt among the jury.

In the "The Daily" podcast published by The New York Times on Friday, Rotunno meanwhile describes her client as a "sinner": "One can assume that Harvey Weinstein is a sinner, and one can assume that he did things that you don't or you don't like ». She emphasized that there is a difference between sins and crimes. "Inappropriate behavior" is not good, "but it does not mean that you have to spend the rest of your life in prison".

The “New York Times” published previously unknown suspected statements by Weinstein after a sexual assault: “Sometimes I don't know when it is mutually acceptable. I try to learn. Maybe I don't recognize my power in these situations, »said Weinstein in 1998, according to lawyers' notes. Weinstein had his lawyers rejecting having ever said these words.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault since 2017. However, the trial only deals with two cases: Weinstein is accused of forcing production assistant Mimi Haleyi to have oral sex in 2006, and is said to have raped another woman in 2013. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment. Many cases were not taken into account in the indictment because they were either statute-barred or are said not to have taken place in New York. In the end, everything depends on the jury, which decides Weinstein's guilt and innocence.

The ex-film producer states that all sexual acts were done by mutual consent. His defenders repeatedly showed emails and text messages from the women, which were written after the alleged assault and are said to show a positive relationship with Weinstein. The prosecution, on the other hand, wanted to disclose a pattern with their witnesses: that of a man who had used his power in the film industry to make himself compliant by promising young women career aid for sex and forcing them to have sex if they said "no" ,

The accusations against Weinstein, published in the autumn of 2017 by the New York Times and the New York magazine and later crowned with the Pulitzer Prize, started the MeToo movement. All over the world, many women and also some men recognized their own stories in which the Weinstein victims and began to collect them under the slogan «Me too».