Model Gigi Hadid excused from Weinstein jury duty: US media


New York (AFP)

Model Gigi Hadid was excused Thursday from serving as a juror in former film producer Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial, US media reported.

The 24-year-old was greeted by a crowd of photographers as she returned to a New York court on the eighth day of jury selection in the proceedings key to the #MeToo movement.

Hadid strolled into the Manhattan courthouse wearing sunglasses just before 09:00 am (1400 GMT).

She left discreetly about ten minutes afterwards, according to police officers outside.

US media reported that the prosecution and defense had agreed to dismiss the famous model and Instagram star, excusing her from serving on the 12-person jury or as one of six alternates.

The move was expected, owing to her fame.

Hadid, who has modeled for top fashion brands including Chanel, first appeared for the pre-screening of potential jurors on Monday, adding a fresh celebrity twist to the high-profile trial.

She told Judge James Burke that although she knew Weinstein -- and actress Salma Hayek, who accused the disgraced movie mogul of sexual assault -- she could still be fair and impartial.

Hadid was asked to fill out a questionnaire before being told to return for Thursday's next round of screening.

Weinstein, 67, has been accused of sexual assault by more than 80 women, including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, 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 in the trial likely to run into early March.

Intense media coverage of the high-profile proceedings is making jury selection difficult.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have questioned around 750 candidates. Some 170 were due back in court Thursday.

Opening arguments are expected to begin on January 22.