Jurors have begun deliberating the fate of former film producer Harvey Weinstein in his high-profile sex crimes trial that marked a watershed moment in the #MeToo movement.

The 67-year-old faces life in prison if the jury of seven men and five women convict him of predatory sexual assault charges in New York.

More than 80 women have accused Mr Weinstein of sexual misconduct since allegations against him ignited the #MeToo global reckoning against men abusing positions of power in October 2017.

But the jury is considering charges related to just two: ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, with many claims too old to prosecute.

Ms Mann, 34, alleges that Mr Weinstein raped her in March 2013, while Ms Haleyi alleges he sexually assaulted her in July 2006.

The proceedings, which began hearing testimony on 22 January, threw up complicated issues surrounding consent and abuse of power for the jury.

Under cross-examination, both Ms Mann and Ms Haleyi acknowledged at least one consensual sexual encounter with Mr Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

Defence lawyers presented dozens of emails and text messages in court that appeared to show both Ms Mann and Ms Haleyi on friendly terms with Mr Weinstein years after the alleged attacks.

His team said the relationships were consensual and transactional, arguing that the accusers used sex with the defendant to advance their own careers.

Prosecutors said he was a career sexual predator who took advantage of his powerful position in the American film industry to prey on aspiring young actresses.

Mr Weinstein, the producer of "Pulp Fiction" and "Sin City", is the first man accused of abuse in the #MeToo movement to face a criminal trial.

In closing arguments last Thursday, lead attorney Donna Rotunno urged the 12 jurors to make themselves "unpopular" by acquitting Mr Weinstein, insisting he had been innocent from the start.

She stressed that prosecutors had failed to present any forensic evidence or eyewitness accounts.

Annabella Sciorra gave evidence at the trial

The prosecution's case rests on whether the jury believes the six women, including actress Annabella Sciorra of "The Sopranos," who testified that Mr Weinstein had sexually assaulted them.

Justice James Burke reminded jurors that to convict, they must be sure of Mr Weinstein's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

"If the people fail to satisfy their burden of proof you must find the defendant not guilty," he said.

The jury retired to consider their verdict just before 11.30am (4.30pm Irish time). 

Mr Weinstein faces five counts: two of predatory sexual assault, two of rape and one of engaging in a criminal sexual act.

The jury must reach unanimous verdicts on each count. If they cannot, the judge may be forced to declare a mistrial, which could mean a fresh trial with new jurors. 

A split verdict is possible where Mr Weinstein is convicted of some charges and cleared of others.

Even if found not guilty, Mr Weinstein's legal troubles are far from over.

He is facing a separate sex crimes investigation in Los Angeles and is also the subject of several civil complaints.