The lead attorney in Harvey Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial seemed to suggest that the disgraced movie producer’s victims are responsible for their own assaults.
According to Vulture, attorney Donna Rotunno said during her closing remarks on Thursday that prosecutors in the case are “stripping adult women of common sense, autonomy and responsibility” by insisting that Weinstein preyed on women.
“The irony is that the ADAs [assistant district attorneys] in this case are the producers, and they are writing the script in this story,” Rotunno said. “They are creating a universe in which they’re stripping adult women of common sense, autonomy, and responsibility.”
She continued: “In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their careers, the hotel room invitations, and the plane tickets they accept.”
At one point in her remarks, Rotunno said that Weinstein “is not the monster” the media and prosecutors have portrayed him to be, later telling jurors that “you should never be bullied or pressured to change your decision” and to “stand your ground.”
“Historically, you are the last line of defense in the country from an overzealous media, from the overzealous prosecution,” the attorney said. “You don’t have to like Mr. Weinstein. This is not a popularity contest. But you have to remember, we are not here to criminalize morality.”
“When this case is over, we know that you’ll do the right thing because justice demands it, and you will find Mr. Weinstein not guilty,” Rotunno said at the conclusion of her five-hour remarks.
Vulture noted that Weinstein is charged with “five counts involving two women, former Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi and onetime actress Jessica Mann.”
Weinstein “faces one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree for Haleyi’s allegation that he forced oral sex on her in his Soho apartment in 2006,” as well as “one count of rape in the first degree, and one count of rape in the third degree, for Mann’s allegation that he raped her at a Midtown East hotel in 2013.”
In addition, he faces two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count for each of his alleged victims.