Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno says “women lie”


In an extraordinary interview with 60 Minutes, Donna Rotunno remained unapologetic about what many critics have described as her victim-blaming in court proceedings and the media.

The veteran defence lawyer, who has represented 40 men accused of sexual assault or harassment and won all but one case, said “women were throwing themselves at Harvey Weinstein”.

“Women lie – it’s not unusual for women to lie,” she told the Channel 9 program. “Women are attracted to powerful men. Women are attracted to older powerful men.”

More than 90 women have come forward to detail horrific alleged sexual harassment, assault and rape over years, from Hollywood and beyond.

Sensationally, Ms Rotunno insists that every single one of them is lying.

“I think one, there’s definitely a financial and a monetary gain that’s possible,” she said.

Harvey Weinstein leaves court last week with his lawyer Donna Rotunno. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Ms Rotunno also accused some of the women of changing their stories to avoid potential embarrassment from having had consensual sex with Mr Weinstein.

“I think the motivation is not wanting to be the person who says, ‘I had consensual behaviour with Harvey Weinstein’,” she said.

“I think that once people started coming out, women who by any other account, if you look at the evidence engaged in consensual behaviour now says, ’I don’t want to be that person’.”

In one astonishing exchange, Ms Rotunno seemed to imply that the women accusing Weinstein of assault or rape knew what the arrangement was, via a clunky reference to the dating app Tinder.

“What I’m saying is when you go home with someone after swiping right, to act as if you have no idea what that interaction may be or what you may be consenting to, seems ridiculous to me,” she said.

RELATED: Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial – most shocking moments

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno on 60 Minutes.

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno on 60 Minutes.Source:Channel 9

Ms Rotunno claimed to have received a torrent of abuse and even threats since she began representing Weinstein.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and a jury is currently deliberating on a verdict in his historic trial in New York.

She described her client as “a sinner” and not a criminal.

“Well, a sin is cheating on your wife. A sin is sleeping with multiple women. A sin is treating people badly at work.

“But a crime is a crime. And so, is Harvey guilty of committing sins? Sure. That doesn’t make you a criminal, and there’s a lot of real estate between making bad choices and committing crimes.”

RELATED: Damning texts to Harvey Weinstein revealed in court

Actress Rose McGowan speaks to 60 Minutes.

Actress Rose McGowan speaks to 60 Minutes.Source:Channel 9

Journalist Tom Steinfort also tracked down a man who claims to have worked as an operative for a security company hired by Weinstein.

Seth Freedman said he was a hired gun whose mission was to dig up dirt and spy on some of the women who accused the movie mogul of acting improperly towards them.

His work began in 2016 and Mr Freedman was initially told the snooping was related to corporate rivalries, he said. It soon become clear that wasn’t the case.

The list of targets he was given was a staggering 91 names – including actress Rose McGowan, who has become the face of the #MeToo movement.

“I’m not there to think about, is he a nice guy? Is he a good dad? Does he pay his taxes?” he explained to 60 Minutes. “This was another job, this was a big executive with a problem.”

Seth Freedman claims to have been a 'spy' whose job was to dig up dirty on Harvey Weinstein's accusers.

Seth Freedman claims to have been a ‘spy’ whose job was to dig up dirty on Harvey Weinstein’s accusers.Source:Channel 9

Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not-guilty to five counts of rape and sexual assault. He faces a possible life sentence in prison if convicted. Picture: AFP

Harvey Weinstein has pleaded not-guilty to five counts of rape and sexual assault. He faces a possible life sentence in prison if convicted. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Mr Freedman said his typical approach, including with Ms McGowan, was to pose as a reporter working on a feature about life in Hollywood.

“I said to her, like I said to pretty much everyone, I’m interested in doing a piece on life in Hollywood now in 2017, whenever, compared to life in Hollywood, when people started out, say, 20, 30 years ago,” he told the show.

Ms McGowan fell for the ruse and opened up about her experiences, including detailing allegations against Weinstein.

All of that information was allegedly sent back to the movie mogul and his team.

“I think it’s shaved years off my life,” she told 60 Minutes of the deception.

“I think them coming after me spun my brain, and still does, in a way that’s fractured a part of me that I don’t think will ever fix.”



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