Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyer Urges Jurors to ‘Look Past the Headlines’ — in Newsweek Op-Ed

Donna Rotunno used the press to urge jurors not to look to the press before delivering decisions in Harvey Weinstein’s trial

Donna Rotunno
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Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno urged jurors to “look past the headlines” Monday… using a headline — and accompanying op-ed — in Newsweek.

“For the process to work as intended and to operate in good faith, jurors must accept the responsibility of not just considering the facts, testimony and evidence, but cutting through the noise of a media and public intent on injecting their narratives into the courtroom, twisting those facts to fit their point of view,” wrote Rotunno in the opinion piece, published the day before the jury is set to begin deliberations.

“Judges instruct jurors to avoid all media coverage and outside influences in making their decision. But in a high-profile case like Harvey Weinstein’s, does anyone think that’s realistically possible?” wrote the lawyer, whose own podcast interview with the New York Times made headlines earlier this month when she said it was recorded prior to the judge’s order that the defense refrain from interviews.

The New York Times contested that assertion later in the day, saying she had sat for the interview a few weeks after the judge made that recommendation. In the podcast discussion, she said she had never been sexually assaulted because she never put herself in the “position” to be assaulted.

Rotunno called on the jurors to abstain from reading coverage and focus on the arguments of the defense and prosecution, which have been laid out with the help of testimony since Jan. 6.

“However, Mr. Weinstein’s jurors have an obligation to themselves and their country, to base their verdict solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom,” she wrote.

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.