×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Harvey Weinstein Seeks to Call Expert on ‘Recovered’ Memories at Rape Trial

Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are seeking to call an expert on “recovered memories” at his trial on rape and sexual assault charges.

The defense has filed a motion asking to call Deborah Davis, a psychologist and professor at the University of Nevada at Reno. Davis is a frequent defense witness. She co-authored an article in 2006 that examined false memories, and questioned the basis for believing “repressed” memories of sexual abuse.

“Just because a ‘memory’ report is detailed, just because a person expresses it with confidence and emotion, does not mean that the event actually happened,” Davis and her co-author concluded.

Weinstein faces a trial in January on five charges related to two incidents, in 2013 and 2006. Actress Annabella Sciorra is also expected to testify that Weinstein raped her sometime in the winter of 1993-94, in order to buttress two of the five charges. Prosecutors also intend to call three “Molineux” witnesses in an effort to establish an overall pattern of sexual abuse.

Justice James Burke has already allowed those three witnesses to testify. But in a defense motion filed Oct. 10, Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis alleged that new disclosures have been made to the defense team, which suggest that one of the witnesses “has engaged in memory recovery therapy.” Cheronis argued that such therapy makes the witness’ testimony unreliable, and that she should be precluded from testifying. Much of Cheronis’ motion is redacted, leaving the precise nature of the new disclosures unknown.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is due to respond by Oct. 24. A spokesperson for the office declined to comment on Cheronis’ motion.

The prosecution is planning to call its own psychiatric expert, Barbara Ziv, who is expected to testify about why victims may delay in reporting sexual assault, and why they would maintain communications with their perpetrator. Ziv testified as a prosecution expert in the trial of Bill Cosby. The victim in that case also delayed reporting the incident to the police.

In the Weinstein case, the defense has alleged that both of the primary victims sent friendly emails and text messages to Weinstein after the alleged assaults. The prosecution wants Ziv to draw on research that would help explain such behavior, which they acknowledge may be contrary to how jurors would expect victims to behave.

Weinstein’s attorneys are asking Burke to preclude Ziv from testifying, arguing that her testimony would not add anything that goes beyond the common understanding of a typical juror.

Deborah Davis, the defense expert, testified in a 2010 case that she is paid $2,500 a day for her services. In that case, she was testifying on behalf of Thomas Pollacci, a Pebble Beach, Calif., man who was accused of rape. The victim suffered a head injury, and initially had no memory of the incident. According to news reports, she later recovered some memories of the incident through hypnosis and “guided therapy.” Davis was called to testify that such techniques can produce false memories. Pollacci was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison.

Davis also offered pre-trial testimony in the case of Wayne Adam Ford, a serial killer now imprisoned on California’s Death Row. In that case, she argued in support of a defense motion to suppress Ford’s confession, arguing that he was in a “compromised state of mind.” The judge allowed most of the confessions to be admitted, and Ford was ultimately convicted.

More Biz

  • U2, Seattle 14 May 2017

    U2 Drop New Song, ‘Ahimsa,’ Ahead of First Concert in India

    After a flurry of rumors on Thursday, U2 dropped their first single in two years: “Ahimsa,” a collaboration with Oscar- and Grammy-winning Indian musician AR Rahman, ahead of the group’s first-ever visit to the country next month. Rahman has a vast track record of film soundtracks and is best known for his work on the [...]

  • Sean "Diddy" Combs Revolt TV

    Sean Combs Slams 'Illusion of Economic Inclusion' at Comcast Amid Byron Allen Fight

    Sean Combs has come out swinging against Comcast in a lengthy statement prompted by the cable giant’s legal battle with Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen. Combs accused Comcast of maintaining “the illusion of economic inclusion” in its handling of a carriage agreement with Combs’ Revolt TV channel. Combs was critical of Comcast for failing to [...]

  • Bon Iver Justin Vernon Grammys

    Bon Iver, Tanya Tucker, Thom Yorke Lead Indie Labels to 44% of Grammy Nominations

    Ever since Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” won Album of the Year at the 2011 Grammy Awards, independent labels have seen their star rise on “Music’s Biggest Night,” and that looks set to continue at the 2020 ceremony, where Bon Iver, Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, Yola, Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard, Elvis Costello and others have gotten big [...]

  • US Capitol

    Congress Introduces AM-FM Act to Revise Copyright Law for Terrestrial Radio

    Senator Marsha Blackburn and Rep. Jerrold Nadler today introduced the Ask Musicians for Music Act (AM-FM), which aims to revise existing copyright law for radio stations and musicians. Under the current copyright system, radio stations can use sound recordings over their airwaves without paying royalties to creators who own a stake in the sound recordings. [...]

  • Harriet Tubman Cynthia Erivo

    AMC Theatres Fires Three Employees Over Racial Profiling Incident During 'Harriet' Screening

    AMC Theatres has fired three employees in one of its Louisiana multiplexes after an incident during a screening of “Harriet.” An African American women’s group called the 504 Queens allege that 15 members were racially profiled while watching “Harriet” at AMC’s Clearview Palace 12 in Metairie on Nov. 7. A letter sent from the organization’s [...]

  • Byron Allen

    Byron Allen's Discrimination Suit Against Comcast Should Be Allowed to Move Forward

    More than anything, the Supreme Court justices seemed bemused. Comcast executives and entrepreneur Byron Allen came to the nation’s high court on Nov. 13 to duke it out over the racial discrimination case that Allen’s Entertainment Studios has pursued since 2015.  But the question put before the court was a narrow issue of legal precedent [...]

  • Christine Baranksi Karey Burke Coutney Kemp

    Christine Baranski, Karey Burke and Courtney Kemp Set for Brandon Tartikoff Awards

    Christine Baranski, “Power” creator and showrunner Courtney Kemp and ABC Entertainment chief Karey Burke are among the five recipients set for the 2020 Brandon Tartikoff Awards, to be handed out in January as part of the annual NATPE conference in Miami. Jeff Zucker, chairman of news and sports for WarnerMedia and president of CNN Worldwide, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content