New York Times Disputes Weinstein Lawyer’s Claim She Did Podcast Interview Before the Trial Began

Donna Rotunno said an episode of “The Daily” released Friday was recorded before the judge ordered the defense to avoid interviews, but the Times says otherwise

Harvey Weinstein Donna Rotunno
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A New York Times spokesperson said Friday that Donna Rotunno recorded her episode of the paper’s “The Daily” podcast on Jan. 28, in direct contradiction to what she told a judge in court.

The episode premiered Friday morning and instantly started trending on Twitter because of comments Rotunno, a defense lawyer for Harvey Weinstein, made about sexual assault victims. During a hearing on Friday morning, Rotunno said that she had recorded the podcast before the trial judge’s Jan. 6 order that the defense team “leave the witnesses alone” and avoid interviews.

“The interview was taped on January 28 and aired on Feb. 7,” a spokesperson for the Times told TheWrap via email.

“She’s calling our witnesses liars,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said after the jury was dismissed for the day Friday. “It is completely in contradiction to your order, so, Judge, we are asking for you to order the defense to cease and desist any discussion about this case.”

Rotunno replied that the interview was taped a while ago, before Judge James Burke ordered the defense team to “leave the witnesses alone” during the trial’s opening day. She said she had “no idea” it would be released today.

“I got called this morning when a friend of mine heard it,” Rotunno said. “I have not spoken to anyone [for interviews] since we started this case.”

A rep for Weinstein told TheWrap, “Ms. Rotunno had no intention to misrepresent the date, as lately the days bleed together. It happened on a day when the judge ended very early. Donna Rotunno would never intentionally mislead, and never once did she talk about any individual.”

During the interview, after being asked if she had even been sexually assaulted, Rotunno responded by saying she has never “put” herself in the “position” to be sexually assaulted.

Listeners to the New York Times’ “The Daily” used Twitter to respond, tweeting “NO ONE puts themself in that position,” and noting they audibly gasped at her comments.

Her client, a former Hollywood producer who pleaded not guilty at his first indictment in August, faces five felony counts: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree criminal sexual assault, one count of first-degree rape and one count of third-degree.