Donna Rotunno Complains to Judge About Gloria Allred Attacking Her in the Media

Harvey Weinstein’s lead attorney Donna Rotunno asked the judge to silence Gloria Allred, the high-powered attorney who is representing three women who’ve testified in the New York rape trial.

Before the jury entered the courtroom on Friday morning, the fourth day of deliberations, Rotunno made a complaint on the record to the judge regarding Allred’s “attacks” about her in the media. Rotunno noted that on Feb. 18, the judge issued a gag order, telling the defense to stop speaking to the media. Rotunno argued the same order should apply to Allred.

Rotunno said Allred “feels the need to go out on a daily basis” to speak about her, and claimed the A-list attorney is essentially a mouthpiece for the prosecution, describing her as “an extension of the government.” (Like the defense, the prosecution has been ordered not to speak to the media about the case while the trial is ongoing.)

“She can attack me all she wants,” Rotunno said, calling Allred’s statements “unprofessional” and her behavior “horrible.”

Rotunno’s complaint about Allred comes shortly after Rotunno gave an interview to “60 Minutes Australia,” which has been promoted across social media this week in advance to its airdate on Sunday. A representative for Weinstein’s legal team tells Variety that Rotunno sat down for the “60 Minutes Australia” interview on Feb. 14, before the gag order was issued on Feb. 18.

Rotunno has frequently been called out in court for her interaction with the media. Last week, the prosecution slammed her for participating in an interview with the New York Times podcast “The Daily,” in which she said she has never been a victim of sexual assault because she never put herself “in that position.” When the issue was raised, Rotunno told the judge, “I have not spoken to anyone in the media since we’ve started this case,” but the New York Times said the interview was taped on Jan. 28 — long after the trial began on Jan. 6.

This is not the first time Weinstein’s defense has tried to muzzle Allred. Earlier this week, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Damon Cheronis, formally requested a gag order on Allred, which was denied by Justice James Burke.

A gag order was issued on the defense, in response to Rotunno writing an op-ed for Newsweek, in which she urged the jury to “look past the headlines” about Weinstein. The op-ed was raised in court by the prosecution, who claimed Rotunno was jury tampering and going against the judge’s ruling to speak about the case in the media. Rotunno defended herself by saying the piece she wrote (titled “Jurors in My Client Harvey Weinstein’s Case Must Look Past the Headlines”) was not about the specific jury serving on her client’s case, but rather the jury system, as a whole.

On Friday, Rotunno also complained that a state witness, Marci Liroff, has been tweeting about her. Liroff is a casting director who was called in by the prosecution to testify about Weinstein interfering with the audition process for the film “Vampire Academy,” in order to stage a faulty audition with Jessica Mann, one of the two star witnesses accusing Weinstein in the case.

Liroff tweeted a link to a Page Six story that covered her testimony. Liroff also responded to a tweet from actress Mira Sorvino, which said, “Donna Rotunno has a job to do for which she answers to her client. But we all have to answer to a higher power. Over 100 brave women have come forward, myself included. We are not lying. Harvey Weinstein is a serial sexual predator rapist of historic proportions.” Liroff responded,” [Have] you read her interviews…? She’s most certainly ‘cut from a different cloth’ than us. That’s me being nice.”

Rotunno asked the judge to notify witnesses to stop tweeting about the case. The judge did not take any immediate action, regarding witnesses tweeting or Allred’s interviews to the media.

Earlier this week, Allred spoke to Variety about Rotunno’s media interaction. Allred said she does not believe Rotunno, or any member of the defense or the prosecution, should be speaking to the media during deliberations. “I can do it because I’m a private attorney,” Allred said. “It’s not something she should do.”

“I don’t think she’s helped herself with some of her media appearances,” Allred told Variety this week. “She’s getting paid a lot of money, so she probably doesn’t want to sit there as a garden statue.”

Mackenzie Nichols contributed to this report.

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