Harvey Weinstein’s defense team closed out its lengthy cross-examination of actress Annabella Sciorra on Thursday with a clip of a 1997 interview with David Letterman, where the actress joked that she’d sometimes make up stories about herself while doing press tours.
While Weinstein’s lawyers apparently sought to discredit Sciorra’s testimony that the mogul had raped her in her Manhattan apartment around 1993, the prosecution was quick to counter that Sciorra’s appearance on the show was intended to be comedic.
In the clip, Sciorra — who was doing press to promote her latest film at the time, “Cop Land” — said she would “fib” and “make up quite elaborate stories” in answering questions she didn’t feel comfortable about. One such lie, she told Letterman, was that she said her father raised iguanas for the circus.
Weinstein attorney Donna Rotunno, who led the defense’s cross examination of Sciorra, played the clip before the jury but did not ask the actress any further questions. In her rebuttal, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi asked Sciorra: “In this interview in this comedy show, were you talking about, in any shape or form, talking about lying about matters as serious as what we are here for?”
“Absolutely not,” Sciorra responded. She also said she did not lie about her accusations against Weinstein.
After Thursday’s proceedings, attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Sciorra, echoed the prosecution’s rebuttal. “I think (the defense) expected the big ‘aha’ moment,” Allred told TheWrap. “Ms. Sciorra appeared with David Letterman on what is in essence a comedy show. That’s what the ‘Late Night’ interview was. Everybody knows David Letterman was very funny.”
“This is not a comedy show,” she added. “This is a criminal case involving allegations of rape, sexual assault, and sexually predatory conduct.”
Sciorra was the second prosecution witness who testified in the criminal trial of Weinstein, who faces five felony counts, including predatory sexual assault and rape. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex.