First Weinstein defence witness crashes and burns on stand


“On Nov. 1, 2018, did you say to Harvey Weinstein that you believe there’s likely a bunch of truth to the claims that you behaved like a cad and more?” the lead prosecutor demanded of witness Paul Feldsher, a former Miramax consultant.

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“Yes,” a seemingly flustered Mr Feldsher answered the prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon.

The longtime Weinstein pal been called to the stand so he could blunt actress Annabella Sciorra’s tearful, blistering testimony from last month, in which she described being raped and then threatened by the producer in the early ’90s.

Harvey Weinstein in court. Picture: John Minchillo/APSource:AP

On direct testimony, Mr Feldsher did bolster Weinstein’s case to some degree, telling jurors that the actress recounted the incident to him during a long walk soon after the alleged attack — and that she had downplayed it, saying only, “she’d done this crazy thing with Harvey”.

But confronted with his texts to Weinstein later Thursday, during cross-examination, Mr Feldsher appeared to do far more harm to his old pal than good.

The texts, which were not entered into evidence or shown to jurors, were written by Mr Feldsher to Weinstein since the Fall of 2018.

“Did you also say to Harvey Weinstein that your appetite and ambition for the things you want — a script, a movie, and yes, a girl — to put it mildly, is voracious,” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes, I did,” Mr Feldsher conceded.

“What I meant by that was Harvey was very dogged in his pursuit of projects and material, etc., etc.,” he attempted to explain.

“So you would agree that Harvey Weinstein is an extremely aggressive person?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” the witness answered.

When Ms Illuzzi-Orbon asked Mr Feldsher what he had meant in his text when he called Weinstein “voracious” with “girls,” the witness continued to unwittingly rough up the defendant’s character.

“I meant that it was my understanding for a very long time that Harvey had a sex addiction and that he dated a lot of women,” Mr Feldsher told jurors.

The prosecutor continued: “Then you go on to say, ‘if a lot of these girls had been my daughter, I’d want to beat the s**t out of you’. Is that right?”

Weinstein has been using a walker to get in and out of court. Picture: John Minchillo/AP

Weinstein has been using a walker to get in and out of court. Picture: John Minchillo/APSource:AP

“That’s correct,” Mr Feldsher answered.

The witness began back-pedalling earnestly.

“Um, I think I was trying — I mean, obviously, because any of — the thought of my child, my daughter is 13, so the thought of anyone, anything in that context I find abhorrent at this point,” he testified.

“And I guess I was trying to put into context — look, I was trying to be a friend and to say I know the extremes of your personality. I know the extremes of your appetite. But I did not believe that he was capable of the thing that he had been charged with.”

“Did you just say that your understanding was that Harvey Weinstein was a sex addict?”

“I believe he had a voracious appetite that I spoke of and, I think, yes, also applied to his appetite for women.”

The jurors listened intently as Ms Illuzzi-Orbon got Mr Feldsher to concede that, in another text, he’d referred to Weinstein’s accusers as a “dog pile of actresses”.

“Did you say, sir, ‘I think the dogpile of actresses who are suddenly brave and recalling suppressed memories is hideous’?”

“I did.”

“When you say dog pile of women — what was it that you meant?”

“I meant a plethora — I was not referring to the animal, I just was talking about the number.”

Weinstein’s case continues tomorrow, US time.

This article originally appeared on Page Six and was reproduced with permission.



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