Harvey Weinstein’s legal team say they have “dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens” of “loving” emails sent to their client from complaining witnesses who accuse Weinstein of sexual harassment.
The judge ruled on Tuesday that while Weinstein’s defense will not be prohibited to show the actual emails that witnesses sent to Weinstein, he is permitting them to include the content of the emails in their opening statements.
Before the judge ruled on the matter, the D.A.’s office objected to the inclusion of email content in opening statements, arguing that the defense is showing evidence that can sway the jury before they’ve even heard from the witnesses.
Among the emails from women who are accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, the defense says they have messages from one woman giving Weinstein her new phone number. Another woman, they say, wrote an email to Weinstein asking to introduce him to her mother.
“These emails could not be more relevant,” one of Weinstein’s lawyer’s Damon Cheronis told the judge in court on Tuesday, stating that the emails are relevant, reliable and admissible. “You will see witnesses getting on the stand and saying they were involved with Mr. Weinstein in relationships [out of fear], but we will counter that with their own words.”
Cheronis said the emails show the women stating that Weinstein is someone they care about and indicate that they were involved in loving relationships. He also said that while witnesses are going to claim Weinstein “made them do things,” they have email proof showing that they would brag about those matters.
“The evidence will show that the witnesses in this case will come forward years later and try to make these relationships look forced, which is a much different case than” years prior to the trial, Cheronis said. He added that when they take the stand, “It’s going to be up to witnesses to say why they said things” that are different than what they’re saying at the trial.
Weinstein, who is facing life in prison for five charges of predatory sexual assault and rape, has maintained that all relationships were consensual.
“Opening statements, as the court knows, is a time for lawyers to show what the evidence will show. And the evidence the complaining witnesses, in this case, sent dozens and dozens and dozens of loving emails to Mr. Weinstein,” Cheronis said, disagreeing with the D.A.’s office, who was trying to block them from providing the jury with email evidence in their opening statements. “Witnesses made loving statements to Mr. Weinstein after they complained about him sexually assaulting him,” Cheronis added. “We believe that opening statements is a time to show what the evidence will show — not what the state wants the evidence to show, but what it will actually show.”
The matter in court on Tuesday morning previewed the defense’s strategy for opening statements, which are set for Wednesday morning.