NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Donna Rotunno concluded to paint former Hollywood writer Harvey Weinstein as lead invulnerability profession in his New York rape trial, she believed that her gender could infer to be an item in a courtroom.
Rotunno took a box in Jun 2019, dual years after dozens of allegations opposite Weinstein fueled a #MeToo movement, in that hundreds of women indicted absolute group in business and politics of passionate nuisance or assault. Millions of people used a hashtag “#MeToo” to share their stories on amicable media and Hollywood celebrities began a “Times Up” debate to quarrel passionate bungle in a workplace.
“In a box where mixed women will be holding a mount to testify, it’s a opposite energetic when we have a womanlike concerned in a defense,” Rotunno told Reuters.
Legal experts and Rotunno herself pronounced her gender competence prompt jurors to perspective her some-more agreeably when she cross-examines Weinstein’s accusers.
“She might be means to doubt a declare in a approach that comes opposite as some-more empathetic, while a masculine counsel might come opposite as cold,” pronounced invulnerability counsel Steven Greenberg, who pronounced he has famous Rotunno for roughly dual decades.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to intimately assaulting dual women in New York and faces a dual month jury trial. With jury preference underway in Manhattan this week, Rotunno has seemed any day during Weinstein’s side, steadfast in a face of flashing cameras.
Rotunno pronounced she can be worse in interrogate than a masculine profession but entrance opposite as a “bully,” and that cause could be an advantage.
She said, however, her tactic is not to intimidate, and her gender is only one strength she brings to a defense.
“I don’t lift my voice,” she said. “I’m not there to confuse anyone, I’m not there to contrition anyone.”
Some critics disagree.
Rosanna Arquette, an singer who has pronounced she resisted neglected passionate advances by Weinstein, indicted Rotunno of blaming victims after Rotunno pronounced in an ABC News talk final month that women should take shortcoming for their actions.
“If we don’t wish to be a victim, don’t go to a hotel room,” Rotunno told ABC News.
In justice on Monday, partner district profession Joan Illuzzi indicted Rotunno of “degrading and humiliating” one of a prosecution’s witnesses in an talk with CNN progressing this month. Rotunno pronounced that was not her intent.
If a jury perceives Rotunno as aggressive, it could harm Weinstein’s case, pronounced invulnerability profession Michael Bachner.
“Just given you’re a lady doesn’t meant we can kick adult in a approach a jury finds offensive,” he said, adding that an attorney’s ability and impression will matter some-more to jurors than gender.
A former prosecutor, Rotunno has represented some 40 defendants indicted of passionate attack given she non-stop her possess organisation in Chicago in 2005, she said.
Weinstein has cycled by several high-profile lawyers given his complaint in 2018, and one pronounced Weinstein’s function done a pursuit “unreasonably difficult.” Rotunno, a initial lady to lead his defense, pronounced she finds Weinstein “very easy to work with.”
Her clients have enclosed Senegalese conform engineer Elhadji Gueye and Stanley Stallworth, a former partner during Chicago law organisation Sidley Austin, who were both indicted of rape and acquitted.
Rotunno pronounced she does not support a #MeToo transformation given it can foul lean open opinion opposite defendants.
Her faith that unproven allegations and media inspection had eroded Weinstein’s right to a satisfactory hearing encouraged her to take a case, she said.
“I knew that being a lady during this arrange of crossroads in story with MeToo and Times Up, we knew that my purpose in it would be opposite than that of a masculine lawyer,” Rotunno told Reuters. “People contend good wait, you’re going opposite your gender or how brave you. But to me, there’s something bigger than the gender and that’s the rights.”
Reporting by Gabriella Borter; modifying by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool
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