Weinstein Lawyer Donna Rotunno Sparks Outrage by Saying She’s Never Put Herself in a ‘Position’ to Be Assaulted

“NO ONE puts themself in that position,” one Twitter user responds to comments on New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast

Last Updated: February 7, 2020 @ 9:39 AM

In a podcast interview released Friday morning, Harvey Weinstein’s criminal defense lawyer Donna Rotunno said 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.

Finding it physically difficult to listen to Donna Rotunno on today’s episode of #TheDaily – so much victim blaming and anti-women rhetoric. What do we expect from a woman who makes money off protecting male predators? How does she sleep at night?” vented one user.

Trying to come up with words to describe the way this interview turned my stomach. Donna Rotunno truly, truly blew my mind. Every word out of her mouth convinced me more and more that she understands nothing of what sexual assault is, as both an attorney and a woman,” wrote another.

Rotunno was interviewed by New York Times reporter Megan Twohey, one of the journalists who initially broke the Weinstein story.

“I’ve always made choices, from college age on, where I never drank too much, I never went home with someone that I didn’t know,” Rotunno told Twohey. “I just never put myself in any vulnerable circumstance. Ever.”

She said, “All I’m saying is that women should take precautions.”

The timing of the podcast’s release sparked some drama in the courtroom Friday, too.

“She’s calling our witnesses liars,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi said after the jury was dismissed for the day. “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 said the interview was taped a while ago, before Judge James Burke ordered the defense team to “leave the witnesses alone.” 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.”

Weinstein’s criminal trial in New York County’s Supreme Court began in early January — over two years after the New York Times and The New Yorker first broke stories about the disgraced movie mogul’s behavior toward women.

Weinstein, 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 rape. The charges stem from accusations by Mimi Haleyi and a still-unnamed woman for encounters they say occurred in 2006 and  and 2013.

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