Harvey Weinstein's defense lawyers rest case without him taking the stand

The former film executive's lawyers told NBC News that he wanted to testify, but in the end they decided against calling him to the witness box.

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By Adam Reiss and Daniel Arkin

The defense in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial rested its case Tuesday without the disgraced film mogul taking the stand, moving the case into its final days.

The former film executive's lawyers told NBC News that he wanted to testify, and that they were discussing that possibility. But in the end, the defense team decided against calling him to the witness box. He would likely have faced blistering questions from New York prosecutors.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, in a New York City hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haley, a former "Project Runway" production assistant, in his apartment in 2006.

He has pleaded not guilty in the case and denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

In all, more than 80 women have accused the Oscar-winning producer behind "The King's Speech" of sexual assault and harassment going back decades, but the trial in New York was based on the allegations from only Mann and Haley.

However, prosecutors were allowed to call four other accusers as witnesses who could testify about Weinstein's alleged pattern of serial predation and abuse, including "The Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused Weinstein of raping her in the early 1990s.

Weinstein's defense lawyers this week called just a few witnesses in a bid to raise doubts about the accounts of his accusers.

Claudia Salinas, a model and an actress, testified Monday in an effort to defend herself against accuser Lauren Marie Young's claim that she did not intervene when Weinstein allegedly sexually assaulted Young at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013.

Young, who is also a model, told jurors last week that Salinas closed the door behind her and the once-powerful mogul as they entered a bathroom, where she alleges he unzipped her dress, masturbated, touched her genitals and groped her breasts.

She told the court that she discovered Salinas standing outside the bathroom and shot her a nasty look before exiting as fast as possible.

Salinas, however, told jurors that if she had done what Young claims, she would remember it — and that she never closed the door on Young and Weinstein.

Tommy Richards, 47, who works in the entertainment industry, testified Tuesday that he met Mann at a party a decade ago and that she never told him anything negative about Weinstein.

He told the court he was at the Doubletree hotel in midtown Manhattan on the day of Mann's alleged rape, and that he saw no indication that she was in any distress.

In testimony Jan. 31, Mann broke down sobbing as she said that Weinstein raped her after injecting his penis with a drug that apparently induced an erection.

Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein's attorneys, is expected to give the defense team's closing argument Thursday.