Damn.. Harvey found himself a female anti #MeToo lawyer.. White privilege works in mysterious ways...Harvey Weinstein’s New Lawyer: I’m Not a Woman Who Has ‘Ever Subscribed’ to #MeToo
Harvey Weinstein‘s legal team has been a revolving door of sorts lately, but is that going to change? Weinstein, once again, has a new attorney: Donna Rotunno.
The Chicago-area defense lawyer is known for representing men accused of sexual assault. Rotunno will represent Weinstein in New York Supreme Court, where Weinstein faces rape and sexual assault allegations. Rotunno will be joined by attorney Damon Cheronis. Their client, disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, has pleaded not guilty and has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Chicago Magazine profiled Rotunno in Feb. 2018 with the story, “The Defender: In the #MeToo Era, Criminal Defense Attorney Donna Rotunno Might Easily Be Seen as a Traitor to Her Sex, But to Her Clients, She’s a Hero.”
In the profile, Rotunno said she has the ability to “get away with a lot more in a courtroom cross-examining a female than a male lawyer does.”
“He may be an excellent lawyer, but if he goes at that woman with the same venom that I do, he looks like a bully,” she said. “If I do it, nobody even bats an eyelash. And it’s been very effective.”
Rotunno’s extensive experience and cross-examination skill (i.e., her demonstrated ability to expose inconsistencies in accusations while not looking like a bully) could prove to be a major upgrade for Weinstein. Here’s more from that profile on Rotunno’s qualifications:
More recently, Rotunno told the Wall Street Journal that she is not a woman “who has ever subscribed” to the #MeToo movement:It’s roughly the 40th sexual-misconduct-related case the 42-year-old Rotunno has handled as a criminal defense attorney in the past 15 years, making her by one estimate (conveyed to Rotunno by a law firm that had researched her before hiring her) the busiest female attorney in this particular niche in the country.
Ms. Rotunno, a former Cook County prosecutor who specializes in representing men accused of sex crimes, said in an interview that the #MeToo movement has done a disservice to women. “I’m not a woman who has ever subscribed to it,” she said. “I believe women are responsible for the choices that they make.”Rotunno’s representation of Weinstein follows a series of high-profile attorney arrivals and departures.She said that by representing Mr. Weinstein, she hoped to encourage women to take responsibility for their actions, “and say to women, ‘Maybe don’t go to the hotel room, maybe we are having a different conversation.’”
Weinstein’s reported raucous fights over strategy with defense attorney Benjamin Brafman led to Brafman’s withdrawal from the case. Along with Casey Anthony‘s lawyer Jose Baez came Ron Sullivan and Pam Mackey, who once represented Kobe Bryant. All three of them have withdrawn from the case; Baez said Weinstein “engaged in behavior that makes this representation unreasonably difficult” and that Weinstein “deliberately disregarded our fee agreement and has had outside counsel indicate that he intends to continue to do so.”
Weinstein’s trial on charges of first-degree rape, third-degree rape, predatory sexual assault, and criminal sexual act in the first degree is currently scheduled to begin on Sept. 9.
Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty to New Indictment; Sexual Assault Trial Delayed Until January
Disgraced Hollywood titan Harvey Weinstein’s sex-crimes case in Manhattan has been delayed until January 2020 after he appeared in court on Monday to plead not guilty to a new grand jury indictment.
The case, which was brought by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and was previously slated to begin in two weeks, includes accusations by two women dating back to incidents in 2006 and 2013; their allegations have amounted to five charges against the movie producer for rape, assault, rape and “predatory sexual assault.” Weinstein, who reported to the New York courthouse in a black suit while handcuffed, snubbed shouted questions from reporters as he and his team expeditiously left the building after the plea, according to the Associated Press. No additional charges were brought against Weinstein and he was released after making his $1 million bail.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office issued the new indictment to allow the grand jury to look over testimony from another accuser, Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, whose allegations of rape against Weinstein date back to the 1990s. Sciorra has not taken the stand in the grand jury proceedings, leading Judge James Burke to bar her testimony from the case at this point.
Weinstein’s defense attorneys Arthur Aidala and Donna Rotunno view the court’s recent updates as good news for their client.
“This action by the prosecutor bespeaks the desperation that has engulfed their case,” the lawyers said in a statement to USA Today. “We have reached the point where one must be concerned that these desperate measures indicate more of a focus on obtaining a conviction at all costs than on seeking justice.”
Aidala also believes the charges of predatory assault will not stand:
Sciorra’s testimony is still expected to be entered into the case, as Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon informed Judge Burke this month that she plans to present the actor’s testimony before the grand jury, despite the allegations being too dated to fall within New York’s statute of limitations.“The most serious charge is predatory sexual assault and in order to prove that prosecutors have to prove that it was done on at least two occasions. If you have two complainants (at trial) and the jury believes only one, then they’ve failed to prove predatory assault … [Sciorra is] their ‘insurance’ witness.”
Since reports about Weinstein’s sexual abuse were first published in late 2017, approximately 70 women have come forward to accuse the entertainment mogul of various levels of sexual misconduct and rape.