Ahead of opening statements in the Harvey Weinstein trial, which are set to begin on Wednesday, the disgraced movie mogul’s attorneys hinted at how they planned to try to discredit witnesses who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and prove the encounters were consensual, The New York Times reports.
One of Weinstein’s attorneys, Damon Cheronis, reportedly told the court that it has “dozens and dozens and dozens of loving emails to Mr. Weinstein” and that some of the women who claim they were abused “also bragged about being in a sexual relationship with him.” While Judge James Burke said Weinstein’s lawyers couldn’t highlight these e-mails in their opening statement, they will be allowed later on due to their “substance and content.”
Opening statements in Weinstein’s trial are set for tomorrow, January 22nd. Weinstein is facing five sex-crime charges, including rape and predatory sexual assault. If convicted on just predatory sexual assault charges, he could face life in prison. Weinstein has maintained his innocence.
On top of hinting at their defense strategy, Weinstein’s lawyers filed a last-minute motion to move the trial from Manhattan to another part of New York, though the judge denied that request today. Weinstein’s attorneys claimed a New York City jury wouldn’t be able to be impartial due to the relentless media coverage of the case “in a city obsessed by news, politics and entertainment, the trifecta that is the Weinstein story.” Prosecutors, in turn, argued that other jurisdictions would “have access to the same news sources and social media” as people in NYC.
Though the New York trial centers around accusations from two women — Mimi Haley, a former production assistant, and an unnamed woman — over 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault. Both women are expected to testify at the trial, though other Weinstein accusers not implicated in the charges (including actress Annabella Sciorra) are also expected to be called to speak to the defendant’s prior behavior.
In Addition to the New York trial, Weinstein is also facing sex-crime charges in Los Angeles. He is accused of raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents spread over two days in 2013.