A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein, in her closing arguments Thursday, told a Manhattan jury to put aside emotion when deciding the fate of the former Hollywood producer as his weeks-long rape trial comes to a close.
Defense attorney Donna Rotunno told a jury that the prosecution, "wove a sinister tale of a man who searched out his victims by putting them through a series of tests." But, she argued, their story was not supported by evidence.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, in 2013 and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006.
The 67-year-old could face life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.
Mann has testified that Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel room early on in what she called an "extremely degrading" relationship with him.
She said It continued for years and included consensual sex.
Rotunno presented her with numerous affectionate emails she sent the producer after the alleged rape, including one in which she wrote, "I love you, always do." Haleyi has testified that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in his home.
Under cross-examination, she acknowledged sending several friendly emails to Weinstein in the following years.
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
The case is a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement in which women have accused several powerful men across a range of industries of sexual assault.
Weinstein’s attorney thanked the jurors for their time and attention, adding, "Harvey thanks you.
After all, his fight now lies in your hands." The jury is expected to hear the prosecution's closing argument on Friday.