Weinstein’s Lawyers Tell NY Rape Trial Jurors to Use ‘Common Sense’ in Deciding His Fate

A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein told a New York jury on Thursday to put aside emotion when deciding the fate of the former Hollywood producer as Weinstein’s weeks-long rape trial comes to a close.

The prosecution “wove a sinister tale of a man who searched out his victims by putting them through a series of tests,” but that story was not supported by evidence, Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told a Manhattan jury during closing arguments.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, in 2013 and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.

Rotunno began her closing argument by thanking the jurors for their time and attention during the trial that began on Jan. 6.

“Harvey thanks you,” she said. “After all, his fight now lies in your hands.”

She stressed that Weinstein was presumed innocent, and urged the jurors to put aside emotion and use their “common sense” when considering the evidence.

“Historically you are the last line of defense in this country from the overzealous media, from the overzealous prosecution.”

The jury is expected to hear the prosecution’s closing argument on Friday.

Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.

The trial is a milestone for the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.

Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

The former producer, who was behind films including “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” has denied any nonconsensual sex.

Mann testified that Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel room early in what she called an “extremely degrading” relationship with him. It continued for years and included consensual sex, Mann said.

Rotunno presented her with numerous affectionate emails she sent the producer after the alleged rape, including one in which she wrote, “I love you, always do.”

Haleyi testified that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in his home in 2006. Some time later, she said, she went to see him in a hotel in an effort to “regain some sort of power.” Weinstein pulled her onto a bed and had sex with her, Haleyi testified.

Haleyi said she “went numb” during the encounter and did not want to have sex with Weinstein. Under cross-examination, she said she had not been forced. She acknowledged sending several friendly emails to Weinstein in the following years.

On Thursday, Rotunno said the emails Haleyi sent Weinstein after he allegedly assaulted her showed there had been no assault.

“The government will tell you emails don’t matter,” Rotunno said. “In what other circumstance would real time evidence not matter?”

Weinstein’s lawyers have argued that the two women’s interactions with Weinstein after the alleged attacks show that their encounters were consensual.

To bolster the prosecution case, four additional women were called by prosecutors, including actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool)

Responses

  1. He took advantage of a situation and so did these women. Hollywood knew what he was doing but said nothing. They wanted an acting career. He wanted sex. High price to pay for both. Here he is in court. And they’re in court humiliating themselves. Yes he’s a pig in case anyone thinks I am condoning what he did.

  2. This man is slime. The only question I have is why didnt any of women didnt go after him when he gave some of their careers the boost they wanted. He should be lock up

    1. “Slime” is not the charge. Rape is the charge. Did they prove the case or not is up to the jury who heard ALL of the case. If we locked up men that are slime, the Access Hollywood and Howard Stern interviewee would be behind bars, not in the Oval Office. I did not hear the entire case so I am not claiming Weinstein is guilty or not. I don’t believe in trial via the media.

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