As Harvey Weinstein defense attorney Donna Rotunno was about to take the mic before a gaggle of reporters outside the courthouse where her client had just been convicted of rape and sexual assault, attorney and victims advocate Gloria Allred moved a bit quicker.
As Allred took the coveted spot, Rotunno’s fellow defense attorney Arthur Aidala told the reporters, “You guys are going to have to make a choice, because we have to go and do some work. So you can hear from Donna, or you can hear from Gloria.”
“You’re not going to silence me again,” said Allred, who earlier during the trial told Deadline that Weinstein’s team was trying to silence her by asking the judge to issue a gag order against her. Snapped Aidala today, “No one’s trying to silence you.”
Watch video of the exchange below.
“We’d like to hear from Donna. Donna!” yelled one of the TV crews. “Donna, can we hear from you, please?” Shouted another to Allred, “This is not about you.”
Moments earlier, when Douglas Wigdor, attorney for accuser Tarale Wulff, who testified in support of the trial’s primary accusers Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann, praised the verdict before stepping away from the mics. Rotunno moved up, but Allred, who represents three of the women who testified including Haley and Annabella Sciorra, was faster.
“You guys aren’t going to hear from us,” Aidala told the press as he and Rotunno walked away, with one reporter shouting, “Donna, Donna, please! It’s a cop out. It’s a cop out!” Corraled in a barricaded pen, reporters and TV crews weren’t able to immediately follow the previously outspoken Rotunno for comment. Allred was undeterred. “I have short statement,” she said.
Aidala decided to stick around, though. He reiterated plans to appeal, saying he thinks there are “several issues” that could be brought up. “I know everyone says, ‘We’re going to appeal,’ but we really think” we have a good case, he insisted. The defense had requested mistrials on various occasions throughout the trial, beginning with jury selection.
The defense had tried to get one juror thrown off during the trial, saying the female juror had posted an online review of a novel about a sexual predator. Another point of contention, he said, was what he called an “unheard of” number of witnesses the prosecution called to testify about Weinstein’s “prior bad acts.”
“We’re very disappointed. We were hoping for ‘not guilty’ on five counts,” he said, adding the defense was “surprised” by the jury’s conviction on first-degree criminal sexual act against Miriam “Mimi” Haley and “shocked” by its rape in the third degree charge in the case of Jessica Mann. Weinstein was found not guilty on rape in the first degree (against Mann) and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Asked if Weinstein had been ready to be taken into custody, he said, “Was he ready? I don’t think that he was ready to be taken into custody. But he was a gentleman and he was stoic. He has two little kids and that’s what he was thinking about.”
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