Harvey Weinstein Lawyer Questions Accuser's Shifting Accounts

Three photos showing Harvey Weinstein and his suited and tied lawyers

Harvey Weinstein and his lawyers, Alan Jackson (left) and Mark Werksman (right)

A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein told jurors Thursday that prosecutors’ case rides on a single theme: “Take my word for it,” repeating the phrase throughout a closing argument that cast the alleged victims as opportunists and liars unfairly targeting the former Hollywood titan.

“Take my word for it. Take my word for it. Five words that sum up the entirety of the prosecution’s case. Take my word for it,” Alan Jackson said Thursday. “Take my word for it that he showed up at my hotel room unannounced. Take my word for it that I showed up at his hotel room. Take my word for it that I didn’t consent. Take my word for it, that I said no.”

In a nearly four-hour argument punctuated by a 90-minute break, Jackson said the alleged victim identified as Jane Doe 1 lied on the witness stand when she testified that Weinstein raped her in her Beverly Hills hotel room in 2013. He said Jane Doe 2, whom Weinstein is accused of forcibly groping a day after he allegedly raped Jane Doe 1, never went up to Weinstein’s hotel room as she claims. He said Juls Bindi, the Hollywood masseuse identified in court as Jane Doe 3, embellished her account of an alleged groping under pressure from prosecutors. And he said Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who is Jane Doe 4 and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), gave “a theatrical, overly dramatized performance” and lied on the witness stand because she’s embarrassed she had consensual “transactional sex” with Weinstein.

“It was a theatrical, overly dramatized performance. What you saw was an act. A pretty good act. But it had no basis in truth,” Jackson said. “It was almost like it was on cue, it was almost like it was rehearsed. Just because she cried the hardest or yelled the loudest, it does not change any of the facts.”

He said Siebel Newsom “cannot square in her mind the idea that she’s a successful, well educated, well-bred refined woman who had consensual sex with Harvey Weinstein in exchange for opportunity and access.”

“Regret is not the same thing as rape,” Jackson said. “And it’s important we make that distinction in this courtroom.”

Jackson gave an emphatic, personal performance that repeatedly focused on a jury instruction that says jurors “should consider” disregarding witnesses if they believe they’ve lied or embellished something in their testimony. He also detailed what he described as serious problems in prosecutors’ case, from perceived conflicting testimony and manipulation through questioning to “missing witnesses” such as actor Mel Gibson and Bindi’s friend Sean Lourdes.

Prosecutors said earlier in trial that jurors would hear from them, but they never ended up calling either as a witness, just as they didn’t call purported supporting witnesses for Jane Doe 1 after indicating to jurors that they would.

Jackson pointed out attorney Gloria Allred in the gallery as he discussed a press conference she held in October 2017 with model Natassia Malthe, Although Weinstein was not charged in connection with the model’s allegation, Malthe testified in accordance with California Evidence Code section 1108, which allows testimony about a defendant’s “past sexual misconduct, alleged and otherwise, when they are currently on trial for a sex crime.”

Jackson said Weinstein had a “relationship” with Bindi and Siebel Newsom that he describes as “pleasant, friendly, mutual … fully and 100% consensual.”

“He benefitted, and she benefitted. That’s the meaning of a transactional relationship,” Jackson said. “They played the game. They hate it now, unequivocally … and that hate translated into their testimony.”

But after news reports of Weinstein’s misconduct published in October 2017, both Bindi and Siebel Newsom became “desperate to relabel their relationships with Harvey Weinstein as consensual.” He said their testimony comes down to, “Believe us because we’re mad. Believe us because we cried. Those are real emotions.”

“I don’t know how to say it more gentle than this but fury does not make fact. Tears do not make truth,” Jackson said. He said the four women who testified about being sexually assaulted by Weinstein who aren’t charged victims were put on by prosecutors to inflate their case.

Weinstein appeared to enjoy much of the argument, smiling as Jackson described “bootstrapping” and laughing out loud after Jackson asked his associate to stand and quibbled over the difference in their height to try to prove a point about conflicting testimony. He also laughed loudly when Jackson was describing discrepancies in testimony about the hotel bathroom door and how it locked, with Jackson saying a manufacturer would have errored and allowed a bathroom door to be locked from the outside if the testimony were true. He also laughed when Jackson sarcastically described him as a “runway model.”

Jackson didn’t mince words when he launched into his discussion about the charged victims, telling the jury: “Jane Doe 1 is lying. Period. There’s no other way to say it.”

Weinstein “never came to her hotel room on Feb. 18, 2013. It never happened. There’s no evidence of it.” Jackson displayed a photo Jane Doe 1 posted to her Instagram of her with actor Al Pacino, then photos of her near Quentin Tarantino and Christoph Waltz the next night.
“Does this look like a person who has actually suffered what she claims to have suffered?” Jackson asked. He also displayed a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “I’m not upset that you lied to me. I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”

“The only thing the prosecution relies on are those five words: Take my word for it,” Jackson said.

Read all coverage of Weinstein’s trial here.

[Jackson and Werksman photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Weinstein photo by Etienne Laurent-Pool/Getty Images]

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