Harvey Weinstein’s Defense Focuses on Emails in Bid to Discredit Accusers

Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney showed jurors friendly emails between their client and his accusers in an opening statement on Wednesday, arguing that the accusers are trying to “have it both ways.”

Attorney Damon Cheronis asked the jury to rely on their “God-given New York City common sense,” and to find that the women had consensual sex with Weinstein, often because they wanted something from him. He said one of the accusers even wanted to introduce Weinstein to her mom.

He alleged that the D.A.’s office is now trying to twist the truth about those relationships in order to create a false image of a sexual predator.

“The truth has changed, and the truth can’t change. There is only one truth,” Cheronis said. “You can’t say, ‘I’m afraid of this man and I’m trying to get away from him,’ while at the same time, after he allegedly assaulted you, asking if he’s going to be in L.A.”

Cheronis urged the jurors to set aside prosecutor Meghan Hast’s emotional opening argument, in which she detailed multiple allegations of rape and sexual assault. He called the prosecutor’s statement “a preview to a movie you’re not going to see.”

“It’s not true. It’s not real,” Cheronis said. “You’re going to see it… You’re going to say, ‘Oh my God, Harvey Weinstein is innocent.’”

Earlier on Wednesday, Assistant D.A. Meghan Hast told the story of Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress who alleges that Weinstein repeatedly raped her — even while she continued to have a sexual relationship with him.

Cheronis said the defense will introduce Mann’s notes that she kept on her phone — which he described as a “diary.” He said she described Weinstein in those notes as a “casual boyfriend.”

“You can lie to the state, you can lie to the police, you can lie to anybody, but you can’t lie to yourself,” Cheronis said.

He also noted that in one email, Mann wanted to introduce Weinstein to her mom.

“You don’t call Harvey Weinstein a predator in 2020, and want to introduce him to your mother in 2015,” he said. The prosecution’s case, he argued, “is the 2020 version of what people want to believe about Harvey Weinstein.”

Cheronis said that while he and the other defense attorneys will cross-examine the accusers, that should not be seen as “victim shaming.”

“I’m not going to beat anyone up, either are my partners,” he said. “We are here to ask questions that have never been asked. We are here to get to the bottom of something that has been believed that shouldn’t be believed.”

In the end, he said, the prosecution’s argument will fall apart.

“It is not going to be this predator-prey dynamic that the state so badly wants you to believe,” he said.

Mackenzie Nichols contributed to this story.

More Biz

  • Andrew Weatherall at Caught by the

    British DJ-Producer Andrew Weatherall Dies at 56

    British music producer, DJ and record-label founder Andrew Weatherall, who co-produced Primal Scream’s landmark 1991 album “Screamadelica” and helped bring the acid house genre into the mainstream, died Monday in a London hospital from a pulmonary embolism, his management confirmed to the Guardian. He was 56. “He was being treated in hospital but unfortunately the [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Sharp Objects

    Entertainment One Commits to Drama: 'Hasbro Bought the Business to Expand It'

    “Sharp Objects” and “Run” producer-distributor Entertainment One is reassuring partners of its commitment to drama following its acquisition by toy giant Hasbro. EOne has always cultivated a strong set of procedurals, such as ABC’s Nathan Fillion-starrer “The Rookie” and Fox’s Stephen Dorff-led “Deputy,” but has also gained traction with cable propositions such as HBO’s “Sharp [...]

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content