Lead Weinstein Attorney Speaks Out: Here’s Why I Defend Men Accused Of Rape

On Friday’s episode of The New York Times’ podcast “The Daily,” Donna Rotunno, a Chicago-based attorney who has represented dozens of men accused of sexual misconduct, was asked in a pre-recorded interview about her decision to now defend disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein. 
“My role in this is to represent him in a criminal case, and as I’ve said multiple times, there’s a difference between sins and crimes. You can believe that Harvey Weinstein is a sinner, and you can believe that he did things that you wouldn’t do or you wouldn’t like, but my question here is does that rise to the level of a crime,” Rotunno told Megan Twohey, the Times reporter who co-wrote the 2017 Weinstein investigation. 
“I think quite often, we look to the accusers and we talk about the effects that these things have on their lives, but we do not look at the effects that these types of allegations and accusations have on the person being accused,” said Rotunno. 
Rotunno remains particularly concerned with the long-term effects that sexual misconduct accusations have on men, invoking an observation her mother made about the media’s rush to condemn three Duke University lacrosse team players for a gang-rape allegation: “When those boys die someday, their obituary is going to say the Duke Lacrosse players.” 
To clients who once felt hopeless, Rotunno’s legal acumen has made a world of difference. In 2013, Rotunno represented high-end fashion designer Elhadji Gueye, who was arrested when an acquaintance filed a police report alleging sexual assault, a charge Gueye maintained was filed only after he refused to pay her $50,000 in hush money, according to Chicago Magazine
When police requested as evidence the clothing she was wearing at the time of the alleged rape, the accuser didn’t submit the pajama bottoms, and later told the court she didn’t know where they went. But during cross-examination, Rotunno pointed to a peculiarity, revealed by a security camera that recorded the accuser’s alleged hush money request: “Of all the clothes in your closet, the ones you choose to wear to meet your ‘rapist’ were the pants you were raped in?” 
Rotunno believes her pointed question led the jury to a prompt not-guilty verdict, and reflected on the trial during the Times’ interview: “He wins, but what do you win? You win your case in criminal court, and then you have to worry about building your reputation back, if you can, where people are then willing to come back and frequent your establishment.”
According to Buzzfeed News, after the interview aired on Friday, “prosecutors argued it violated Judge James Burke’s previous order directing lawyers to not discuss the case and the witnesses in public.” Rotunno claims the interview was recorded “a long time ago” and didn’t know when it would air, but the New York Times claims the interview was recorded on January 28 and that Rotunno knew it would air Friday.
When it concerns the man who sparked the #MeToo movement, the court of public opinion has been swift and decisive. But while nearly 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, ranging from unwanted groping to forcible rape, the charges in the Manhattan trial are specific and concern only two criminal accusers. 
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Jessica Mann, a former actress who is now a hairstylist, claims she consensually entered into a relationship with Weinstein after he forced her to permit him to perform oral sex. 
“I made the decision to be in a relationship with him,” said Mann, according to Vulture. “And part of that was because I was sexual with very few people. I entered into what I thought was going to be a real relationship with him — and it was extremely degrading from that point on.”
Mann has also alleged that Weinstein violently raped her at a New York City hotel in 2013; Weinstein maintains that all encounters were consensual, and his defense team has produced emails from Mann showing that she maintained contact with him for years, and would provide him with updated contact information on multiple occasions. 
As The Daily Wire previously reported, Weinstein has also been accused of forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haleyi, a production assistant for Project Runway, at his apartment in 2006. 
In total, Weinstein faces five criminal counts, including rape and predatory sexual assault, in connection with alleged assaults against the two accusers. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.  
Lead Weinstein Attorney Speaks Out: Here’s Why I Defend Men Accused Of Rape Lead Weinstein Attorney Speaks Out: Here’s Why I Defend Men Accused Of Rape Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 03:03 Rating: 5

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