Harvey Weinstein‘s legal team told jurors Thursday that prosecutors in his rape case were acting like Hollywood producer, creating a world where “women are not responsible” for their interactions with men.
His lawyer, Donna Rotunno, urged jurors to ignore “outside forces” and use their “New York City common sense” weighing the case. She challenged the stories of his six accusers who took the stand, and said that prosecutors were subtly making the argument that adult women don’t have the common sense to decide “what parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the hotel rooms they go to, the airplane tickets they accept.”
She argued that prosecutors unfairly portrayed Weinstein as an overweight “monster” and showed nude photos of him to the jury “only to shame him.”
Rotunno continued, arguing that the prosecutors failed to make a persuasive argument, and told them to ignore their gut: “The district attorneys have failed to make their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and on behalf of Mr. Weinstein, we are imploring you to tell them that by (ruling) not guilty. You may have had a gut feeling that Harvey Weinstein was guilty. Throw that gut feeling right out the window.”
Alluding to criticism she has received for her support of Weinstein and remarks that were perceived as victim-blaming, she urged them to make the “right” decision, even if it wasn’t popular.
Rotunno said: “You need to show that here in New York City, in the United States of America, we don’t cave to pressure. The time to do the right thing is right now.”
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi is set to give her closing arguments for the prosecution on Friday. Trial will not be in session on Monday for the holiday. Judge James Burke expects to give the jury its instructions Tuesday, February 18th, after which they will deliver their decision.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and assault.