Harvey Weinstein leaves court during his rape trial in New York. Picture: AP
Harvey Weinstein leaves court during his rape trial in New York. Picture: AP

Defence to show ‘love letters’ to Weinstein

Lawyers for disgraced Hollywood bigwig Harvey Weinstein will use their opening statement at his criminal rape trial to refer to "dozens and dozens of loving" emails that women reportedly sent to him after he allegedly assaulted them.

In New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday (local time), Judge James Burke heard previews of the opening statements to be given on Wednesday (local time) by both the prosecution and the defence.

Harvey Weinstein, with one of his lawyers Donna Rotunno, leaves a New York court. Picture: AP
Harvey Weinstein, with one of his lawyers Donna Rotunno, leaves a New York court. Picture: AP

Judge Burke ruled in favour of defence plans to refer to "dozens and dozens and dozens" of "loving" emails between Weinstein and the two women involved in the trial who have accused him of sexual assault.

Weinstein denies the allegations.

The judge said the reason he was going to allow the messages to be referenced was because they went to the case of the defence team "that the sex was consensual".

A lawyer for Weinstein's defence team, Damon Cheronis, said his power point presentation would include excerpts of emails between Weinstein and his accusers.

 

Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan, who has accused him of sexual assault. Picture: Getty Images
Harvey Weinstein and Rose McGowan, who has accused him of sexual assault. Picture: Getty Images

 

Gwyneth Paltrow was allegedly a “crucial source” in the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Picture: Getty Images
Gwyneth Paltrow was allegedly a “crucial source” in the accusations against Harvey Weinstein. Picture: Getty Images

"What we'll counter with are their own words where they describe loving relationships, sexual encounters with Mr Weinstein, and (describe him as) someone that they care about, both before and after the alleged assaults," Mr Cheronis said.

"We will be able to show through cross-examination that women who accused him of sexual assault also bragged about having relationships with him, and bragged about things he allegedly forced them to do.

"My opening statement and power point won't be argumentative, but it will be about facts."

Mr Cheronis said one complaining witness sent her phone number after the alleged assault, and another wanted to introduce him to her mother.

The prosecution will call sex crimes expert Dr Barbara Ziv, who gave evidence in the Bill Cosby retrial in 2018, to refute assumptions about how rape and sexual assault victims behave after an attack.

Weinstein is being tried before a jury of seven men and five women.

He is charged with five sex crimes, including rape and sexual assault, stemming from encounters with two women, one who says he raped her in 2013 and the other who says he sexually assaulted her in 2006. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denies all charges of non-consensual sex.



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