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Weinstein Prosecution and Defense Argue over Lawyer’s ‘Degrading’ Statement About Witness


The prosecution in the Harvey Weinstein trial moved for a gag order in the case because of statements a defense lawyer made in the media about witnesses. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said that comments by lawyer Donna Rotunno were “degrading” and “abominable.” By calling them “actresses,” the defense implied that witnesses would lie, said the state.

Law&Crime Network host Jesse Weber, who was in court, said that Rotunno defended herself and maintained she didn’t do anything improper. She also denied bringing up sealed material in media interviews. News outlets had their own access to documents, and she was only answering questions, she said.

The judge denied the state’s move for a gag order.

You may recall that Rotunno recently threw shade at witness Annabella Sciorra, an alleged victim of Weinstein.

“You know, Annabella Sciorra is an actress and she has spent an entire life acting for a living and I anticipate that she will be an excellent witness on the stand,” Rotunno said Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, is being brought up by the state to show a pattern of prior bad acts by the defendant.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by over 80 women. He faces five counts in New York City connected to just two accusers. The defendant allegedly sexually assaulted Mimi Haleyi in a SoHo loft in 2006 and raped an unnamed woman in a hotel room in 2013. The charges are two counts of predatory sexual assault, first-degree rape, third-degree rape of a person unable to consent for a reason other than her age, and performing a criminal sex act in the first degree.

Rotunno has asserted Weinstein made moral mistakes by cheating on his wife. However, she says Weinstein didn’t commit criminal acts. The defense is expected to argue these were consensual relationships which continued after the alleged assaults.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network.]

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