Weinstein will go on trial next week for rape. A conviction could mean he’ll spend decades in prison, essentially meaning a life sentence for the 67-year-old movie mogul, who appears to be in poor health.
“The past two years have been grueling and have presented me with a great opportunity for self-reflection,” Weinstein wrote. “I realize now that I was consumed with my work, my company and my drive for success. This caused me to neglect my family, my relationships and to lash out at the people around me. I have been in rehab since October 2017, and have been involved in a 12-step program and meditation. I have learned to give up my need for control.”
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse since stories about his conduct came to light in October 2017. He is charged with predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He has denied the allegations and his defense team has maintained all sex was consensual.
The upcoming trial centers on allegations that he raped a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013. A second woman contends Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006. Other women are expected to testify against him in an effort to prove a pattern of abuse.
Weinstein declined to answer a question on empathy for his alleged victims.
“While I do have many empathetic opinions regarding many people, I am following the advice of my lawyers on the eve of my trial to not offer any commentary on this,” he emailed.
Weinstein’s defense attorney Donna Rotunno spoke to CNN on Friday.
She said Weinstein would be “the first one to say he did bad things,” but he’s not a criminal.
“He cheated on his wife, he was dishonest about that, he had multiple women he slept with at different points and he would say that those were bad choices,” Rotunno said. “He’s lost everything for those bad choices. Nobody is trying to claim that he is a saint and that he never did anything wrong … I don’t believe Harvey is a rapist.”
Weinstein claimed that the media plays a large role in public perceptions on his case. “The public’s biggest misconceptions come from the assumptions that have been made through the help of media,” he wrote. “That is also all I can say on this for now.”
“My meditation and focus on looking inward has helped me balance my emotions,” Weinstein wrote. “The whole process has been overwhelming, but I am working every day to stay level.”
If he is successful in avoiding conviction, Weinstein will be low key. “I plan to focus on my children, my health and rest,” he said when asked his plans if found not guilty. “If I can do something positive to advance the causes that I had always championed, I hope to find a way to do so.”
He also hoped to get back into movie production.
“It will take a bit of work to build back to it,” Weinstein wrote. “If I can get back to doing something good and building places that help heal and comfort others, I intend to do so.”
Weinstein spends his days working on his case. “I spend the vast majority of my free time working with my legal and communications teams,” Weinstein wrote. “I read several books a week on history, politics and fiction. My main focus has been proving my innocence and clearing my name.”