Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer has compared her client to 'sex addict' golfer Tiger Woods to argue he’s 'not a rapist'.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer has compared her client to 'sex addict' golfer Tiger Woods to argue he’s 'not a rapist'.

‘Weinstein a sex addict, but not a rapist’ says his lawyer

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer has made an astonishing comparison between her disgraced movie mogul client and "sex addict" star golfer Tiger Woods, saying it was not the same thing as "being a rapist".

"Tiger Woods is a sex addict. You don't see him in a criminal courtroom," Weinstein's lead lawyer Donna Rotunno told the Manhattan Supreme Court jury who will decide his fate on rape charges.

"Being a sex addict and being a rapist are two different things."

In 2010, Woods checked into a sex addiction rehabilitation clinic following a notorious sex scandal that led to the end of his marriage with Elin Nordegren.

Donna Rotunno, lawyer to movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Picture: Getty
Donna Rotunno, lawyer to movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Picture: Getty

Ms Rotunno made the jaw-dropping reference to Woods after spending hours attempting to discredit Weinstein's accusers as the #MeToo-era trial moves one step closer to a verdict.

Weinstein, 67, faces two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sex act stemming from the allegations of one-time aspiring actress Jessica Mann, former Project Runway production assistant Miriam "Mimi" Haleyi and The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra.

The jury is set to begin deliberations in the case next week.

Ms Rotunno suggested Weinstein was a victim of the #MeToo movement and should be cleared of all rape and predatory sexual assault charges against him as his trial reaches its conclusion.

 

Weinstein and his notorious walking frame. Picture: Getty
Weinstein and his notorious walking frame. Picture: Getty

 

Jurors in the Manhattan trial were urged to be "unpopular" by Ms Rotunno and acquit the ex-Hollywood titan of the charges, which he denies.

"He was innocent when he walked through the door. He was innocent when witnesses started to take the stand. He is innocent as he sits here right now," Ms Rotunno said in her defence closing remarks.

"From an overzealous media, from an overzealous prosecution, you are being asked to make an unpopular decision. Never let your emotion cloud your intellect. Use your New York City common sense. It will guide you to the right answer."

 

Annabella Sciorra. Picture: AP
Annabella Sciorra. Picture: AP

Ms Rotunno suggested Sciorra - whose allegations are too old to be considered by the court - only alleged sexual assault against Weinstein in a bid to revive her career.

"She becomes relevant and she becomes a star," Ms Rotunno said of Sciorra.

"She has new agents. And now she's the darling of the movement."

Ms Rotunno also challenged the claims of Mann and Haleyi, referring to affectionate emails they sent the producer after the alleged assaults.

She argued that the women had willingly engaged in sex with Weinstein because they thought he would help their careers, and accused the prosecutors of using the women in a fervent effort to imprison Weinstein.

 

Ms Rotunno argued that prosecutors had to invent a damning story about Weinstein because they don't have the evidence to prove the charges.

"The irony is that they are the producers and they are writing the script," Ms Rotunno said, urging the jury to not buy into "the story they spun where women had no free will."

"In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make to further their own careers, the hotel room invitations, the plane tickets they accept, the jobs they ask for help to obtain."

Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi testified in court. Picture: AP
Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi testified in court. Picture: AP

"The time to do the right thing is now," Ms Rotunno told the jury.

Weinstein appeared to be in good spirits as he left the courtroom, but would not comment to reporters when asked if he thinks he will be acquitted.
The judge can declare a mistrial unless the seven men and five women of the jury return a unanimous verdict.

Prosecutors will make their closing remarks Friday local time.

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

 



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