Har­vey lawyer: Case is fic­tion writ­ten by the DA

New York Daily News - - NEWS - BY MOLLY CRANE-NEW­MAN AND LARRY MCSHANE

Hol­ly­wood film­maker Har­vey We­in­stein, the oft-ac­cused poster boy for the #MeToo move­ment, was the vic­tim of a scripted prose­cu­tion where a half-dozen ac­cusers col­lab­o­rated to por­tray the Os­car win­ner as a sex-crazed beast, his lawyer ar­gued Thurs­day in clos­ing ar­gu­ments.

“In the al­ter­na­tive uni­verse that the prose­cu­tors have cre­ated for you, Har­vey We­in­stein is a mon­ster,” said de­fense at­tor­ney Donna Ro­tunno in her blis­ter­ing de­fense of the hulk­ing pro­ducer. “He’s unattrac­tive, he’s over­weight. They showed you naked pho­to­graphs of him. Ask your­self why.

“To do noth­ing more than shame him.”

Ro­tunno, in her take-no­pris­on­ers ad­dress, sug­gested at­tor­ney Glo­ria Allred and her client, We­in­stein ac­cuser Miriam Ha­ley, were mo­ti­vated by fi­nan­cial gain more than jus­tice in the Man­hat­tan prose­cu­tion of the man be­hind the movies “Pulp Fic­tion” and “Shake­speare in Love.”

“She doesn’t sit here be­cause it’s fun for her,” said Ro­tunno, ges­tur­ing at the well-known Allred in the front row of the Man­hat­tan court­room. “She sits here be­cause she knows there’s a pot of gold for her at the end of this trial.”

Ro­tunno (in­set) even went as far as al­leg­ing that Em­my­win­ning actress Annabella Sciorra of “The So­pra­nos” was only called as a wit­ness to give prose­cu­tors some “star power,” and sug­gested the film star con­cocted her tale of rape by We­in­stein to thrust her­self back in the spot­light.

“She’s changed her mem­ory, and now she’s been raped,” said Ro­tunno, wear­ing a black dress as she spoke to the ju­rors. “She’s the dar­ling of the move­ment of the minute.”

Sciorra, through tears, re­counted how she was raped in­side her Man­hat­tan apart­ment by We­in­stein back in 1993-94. She is one of roughly 90 women to come for­ward with charges of in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual be­hav­ior by the de­fen­dant, whose trial in­volves charges re­lated to just two of those ac­cusers.

Ro­tunno, at the end of her five-hour ad­dress to the jury, urged the panel to ac­quit her client. We­in­stein, 67, faces pos­si­ble life in prison if con­victed of the top charges of rape and sex­ual abuse of the pair who told their sto­ries un­der oath.

Prose­cu­tors will make their case Fri­day, with the jury ex­pected to be­gin de­lib­er­a­tions this com­ing Tues­day. Ro­tunno came af­ter prose­cu­tors with guns blaz­ing, dis­miss­ing the case as a phony court­room pro­duc­tion.

“The irony is that ADAs, in this case, are the pro­duc­ers and they are writ­ing the script in this story,” said Ro­tunno. “They are creat­ing a uni­verse in which they’re strip­ping adult women of com­mon sense, au­ton­omy and re­spon­si­bil­ity. In their uni­verse, women are not re­spon­si­ble for par­ties they at­tend, the men they flirt with, the choices they make for their own careers, the ho­tel room in­vi­ta­tions and plane tick­ets they ac­cept.

“… In this script, the pow­er­ful man is so unattrac­tive and large that no woman would ever want to sleep with him vol­un­tar­ily.”

We­in­stein, pro­ducer of “The King’s Speech,” gave his lawyer’s per­for­mance a rave review: “I loved it. The queen’s speech, that’s what is was.”

The crux of the case re­mains the tes­ti­mony of We­in­stein ac­cusers Ha­ley and Jes­sica Mann, who both took the stand to re­count their al­le­ga­tions against the once-ac­claimed mogul.

“We’ve heard from many wit­nesses in this case,” Ro­tunno said. “In the end, it only comes down to those two, and if you don’t be­lieve Miriam Ha­ley or Jes­sica Mann, you don’t have to eval­u­ate any­thing else.”

A weep­ing Ha­ley tes­ti­fied that We­in­stein held her down and per­formed oral sex on her de­spite re­peated re­quests for him to back off. Mann, while ac­knowl­edg­ing she had a com­pli­cated re­la­tion­ship with We­in­stein that in­cluded con­sen­sual sex, tear­fully re­counted how the heavy­weight pro­ducer twice raped her in 2013.

Ro­tunno urged the Man­hat­tan jury of seven men and five women to find her client in­no­cent, even if their own rep­u­ta­tions take a hit from an ac­quit­tal.

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