Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein gestures during the Allen and Co. media conference in Sun Valley.
(photo credit: RICK WILKING / REUTERS)
Harvey Weinstein, the renowned film producer fighting rape and sexual assault charges, replaced his lead attorney with a woman critical of the #MeToo movement.
Donna Rotunno began representing Weinstein at a Manhattan Supreme Court hearing Thursday. Rotunno said he has “been railroaded,” the New York Daily News reported that day.
“I believe movements allow emotion to take over and they are devoid of fact and evidence, and I believe that to be the case,” she told reporters. “Common sense has been left outside.”
The #MeToo movement began on social networks following exposes by The New York Times and The New Yorker on Weinstein’s alleged exploitation of women.
Weinstein fired Jose Baez as his lead lawyer for Rotunno, who specializes in defending men accused of sex crimes.
Rotunno argued that Weinstein, who is Jewish, became a#MeToo villain without proof supporting the allegations leveled against him by dozens of women, including Hollywood stars.
“The relationships he had with the women in this case were quite consensual,” she said.
Gloria Allred, a lawyer representing some of Weinstein’s accusers, said: “Women are responsible for their own choices, but when will Mr. Weinstein be held responsible for his?”
First arrested in late May 2018, Weinstein is facing two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape.
Weinstein is out on $1 million bail. His trial is set to open Sept. 9.
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