‘He’s innocent’: Weinstein’s last ditch plea
Harvey Weinstein’s defence lawyer has delivered a remarkable closing argument while pleading with a New York City jury to acquit the movie mogul of five counts of sexual assault.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman in 2006. A total of six accusers testified as part of a prosecution effort to show he used the same tactics to victimise many others over the years.
In the Manhattan Supreme Court today, Defence lawyer Donna Rotunno asked the jury to use “New York City common sense” to guide their decision-making and to focus on the evidence presented at trial rather than the maelstrom of negative press Weinstein received between the start of the #MeToo movement in 2017 and his trial.
“You may have had a gut feeling that Harvey Weinstein was guilty,” she said.
“Throw that gut feeling right out the window.”
Ms Rotunno said Weinstein’s accusers had “created a universe that strips the adult women of common sense, autonomy, and responsibility”.
“It’s offensive, actually,” she said. “They’re not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers... the jobs they ask for help to obtain.”
“In this script, a powerful man is the villain and he is so unattractive and large that no woman would want to sleep with him voluntarily.”
Ms Rotunno told jurors that they were the last-line of defense against an “overzealous media, an overzealous prosecutor”.
“As Harvey Weinstein sits here, he sits here an innocent man. He was innocent when the D.A. charged him … he was innocent when each witness took the stand,” she continued.
“He’s innocent as he sits there right now.”