The defense of former film producer Harvey Weinstein has dismissed allegations that the former film mogul committed sexual assault on the first day of the main court trial. According to the defense attorneys, the women had sex with Weinstein voluntarily because they expected some sort of return service from him.
According to attorney Mark Werksman of Defendant Harvey Weinstein’s team, sexual relations in Hollywood functioned as a barter commodity. Prosecution alleges Weinstein sexually assaulted five women in Los Angeles, for whom he faces up to 140 years in prison, the AP reported.
According to the indictment, Weinstein wanted to have sexual activities with women who accuse him of assault, even though they had made it clear to him that they disagreed, prosecutor Paul Thompson said at the start of the main part of the trial. Eight women will testify before the court, whose testimony is intended to prove the illegal behavior of the former film producer.
Weinstein’s defense claims that sexual relations between one of the most powerful people in the world of American cinema and the women in question were consensual. According to Weinstein’s attorney, Werksman, sex functioned in Hollywood as an object of bartering.
Test on the sofa
“It was a sofa bed test. Everyone did it … because everyone wanted something from someone,” the lawyer said. According to him, the main motivation for women to have sex with Weinstein was the former producer’s power. According to the defense, there is no evidence to support the women’s testimony.
The lawyer also pointed out that the women came forward with their testimonies many years late, only after the start of the MeToo campaign against sexual abuse. But according to prosecutor Thompson, the witnesses remained silent for a long time because they were afraid of Weinstein and his influence in the film industry.
Some witnesses spoke of him as a king or the most powerful person in the film industry. According to Thompson, the women have applied independently and do not know each other.
140 years in prison
According to the indictment, Weinstein assaulted and sexually raped five women during his stays in Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 140 years in prison.
The court first dealt with Weinstein’s case on October 10, when jury selection began. In the end, nine men and three women were on the jury.
For Weinstein, who has been charged with sexual abuse or assault by about 90 women, this is the second such trial. In 2020, a New York court sentenced him to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and for raping actress Jessica Mann in 2013. Weinstein pleaded not guilty and filed appeal against the verdict.
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You can’t provoke sexual violence on anyone, it’s not your fault. It doesn’t matter what you wear. An attacker always takes an opportunity. | Video: Daniela Písařovicová