Weinstein’s thinking was that “they want to be in the universe [and] the universe is run by me and they don’t get to complain when they’re stepped on or demoralized and raped and abused by the defendant,” the prosecutor argued to a jury of seven men and five women.
Illuzzi-Orbon, in front of a packed house of media and others in the gallery, suggested that Weinstein’s tactic was to remain in contact with the women, to silence them.
Weinstein was slumped forward in his seat at the defense table at the outset of her summation.
“He made sure he had contact with the people he was worried about, as a little check to make sure that one day they wouldn’t walk out of the shadows and call him exactly what he was: an abusive rapist,” Illuzzi-Orbon argued. “Well, he was wrong.”
At the start of the summation, she focused on Annabella Sciorra, who testified that Weinstein raped her in her Gramercy Park apartment in either late 1993 or early 1994. The prosecutor said Sciorra, after having buried her secret, had “no motive to lie” about what happened to her, and no reason to share private and personal details in a public courtroom.
Weinstein’s legal team suggested during the trial that Sciorra’s dormant career could potentially be revived by the notoriety she has gained as a public Weinstein accuser.
The prosecutor pointed to Sciorra’s testimony that she cut herself as she struggled with deep pain and depression from the alleged rape, and made macabre artwork on a wall in her apartment. Sciorra admitted to “dabbing the blood with tissues” and wiping it on the wall, and placing gold leafs over the red mass. “Do you think that’s a career booster?” the prosecutor posed to the jury.
Illuzzi-Orbon argued there was power in the consistency of stories from witness to witness. The jury heard testimony from six women, three of whom are officially part of the case. Three others — Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Marie Young — were allowed to testify to support the stories of the others.
Weinstein, 67, is on trial for two counts of rape (in the first and third degrees) related to an alleged forced encounter with former aspiring actress Jessica Mann at a DoubleTree Hotel in Manhattan on March 18, 2013.
Mann, 34, said in testimony that she had an ongoing consensual sexual relationship with Weinstein. She also alleges a rape in Los Angeles some time after the first incident.
Weinstein is also accused of forcing a sex act on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi, 42, on July 10, 2006, at the Manhattan apartment he had at the time.
The Miramax founder was arrested on May 25, 2018, in New York after investigators here began looking into the many sexual misconduct allegations against him, following reports in the New York Times and New Yorker.
If the jury finds he’s guilty of sexually assaulting Mann or Haleyi, the panel can consider counts of predatory sexual assault, for a pattern of misconduct. Those are the only charges that involve Sciorra, as her alleged incident occurred too long ago for an individual rape charge. On those counts, he faces a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to life.
On Thursday, defense lawyer Donna Rotunno gave a five-hour summation and focused on what the accusers wanted from Weinstein.
Among Rotunno’s arguments was that Mann took advantage of his invites to awards-season parties and relied on him for advice and favors.
“[Mann] was going to do anything she needed to do to have the career that she wanted to have,” Rotunno argued. She was “not forced to do anything,” added Rotunno, who pointed to testimony and records that depict a friendly and romantic relationship.
The attorney argued that Mann was rewriting history. “That is all Jessica Mann does: reframe, reframe, reframe. Reframe her meeting with Harvey Weinstein. Reframe the way she viewed him. Reframe the reason she wanted him in her life. Reframe the contents of her emails,” Rotunno said.
Jurors are slated to begin deliberations Tuesday, following a three-day weekend for Presidents’ Day.