Weinstein: I 'won the lottery' with new lawyer

Stephanie Keith  Getty Images
Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse

Stephanie Keith Getty Images Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse

Harvey Weinstein has responded to his former lawyer's comment that leaving the disgraced movie mogul's sexual assault case was like winning the lottery.

"I'm not saying that there are not positive things that come from #MeToo, I'm talking about #MeToo in terms of Harvey Weinstein", Rotunno said. The New York Times and The New Yorker both won the Pulitzer Prize for public service journalism in 2018 for their reporting, in part, on allegations against Weinstein which helped spur the #MeToo movement.

"When you come forward and make an allegation and that allegation is deemed true, and we've seen many instances of that in our justice system, I think it's risky to say these women are so empowered and it's wonderful when there's a potential to ruin someone's life", she said. Jose Baez, Weinstein's previous lead attorney who has represented the likes of Casey Anthony, also appeared in the courtroom to get Burke's OK for the switch of attorneys. He told a judge in a letter last month that Weinstein made representing him "unreasonably hard". "I believe women are responsible for the choices that they make".

Gloria Allred, who represents one of the accusers in the criminal case, offered a different perspective, saying: "I agree that women are responsible for their own choices, but when will Mr. Weinstein be held responsible for his?"

Rotunno called it an "honor" to represent Weinstein, while boasting about how she'll add to his overall defense.

Rotunno says she chose to represent Weinstein and believes the evidence is "very favorable" toward him.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein exits New York State Supreme Court after a hearing in his rape case in New York, U.S., July 11, 2019.

Judge James Burke held the hearing Thursday to approve changes in Weinstein's defense team and to iron out remaining issues before the September 9 trial. Again, there was no court reporter to make a record of the conversation.

Thursday's hearing was a procedural one, with the bulk of it consisting of bench conferences during which Burke and attorneys from both sides discussed issues such as jury selection, the next major phase of the pre-trial period.

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Baez signaled last month that he wanted to leave the case, telling Burke in a letter that Weinstein had tarnished their relationship by communicating only through other lawyers and by failing to abide by a fee agreement.

Rotunno insisted that her use of the word "railroaded" was simply a way to affirm a question from a reporter, who had asked her Thursday morning if Weinstein had been "railroaded" by #MeToo.

Another lawyer bolted in May.

Weinstein ignored journalists' questions outside the Manhattan courtroom.

Harvey Weinstein enters the courthouse on July 11, 2019 in NY.

Lawyer Jose Baez is seeking the judge's permission to leave the case.

The once prolific movie mogul pleaded not guilty to five counts of rape and sexual assault involving two different women, Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and an unidentified woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. That happened after his original lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, lost a hard-fought bid to get the case thrown out.

Weinstein's new lawyers join Arthur Aidala, a New York City lawyer whose clients have included rapper 50 Cent, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz and the late Fox News chief, Roger Ailes.

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