On Thursday, February 13, 2020, Wigdor LLP Founding Partner Douglas H. Wigdor appeared in an interview with CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour in which he discussed the ongoing criminal rape trial against disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein in New York Country Supreme Court.
Mr. Wigdor represents six victims of alleged sexual abuse by Mr. Weinstein, including Tarale Wulff, a model and former cocktail waitress who testified during the criminal trial that Mr. Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2005 after he lured her to his apartment under the guise of reading a script for a potential acting role.
As explained during the CNN interview, Ms. Wulff participated in the trial as one of three “Molineux witnesses.” Mr. Weinstein is not charged with any crime in connection with Ms. Wulff’s allegations, but the testimony of the Molineux witnesses can help the jury infer Mr. Weinstein’s intent to sexually assault the two main victims in the case. Mr. Weinstein is charged with four counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of rape and the first and third degrees.
While Mr. Weinstein’s defense counsel has attempted to undermine the prosecution’s case by showing that some of the women continued to be in contact with Mr. Weinstein after he allegedly attacked them, Mr. Wigdor pointed out that this type of behavior is common among victims of sexual assault and rape:
“This jury verdict is going to be a real testament to where we are as a society post-#MeToo, and whether a jury can understand that, really, rape victims and sexual assault victims often do keep in touch with the person that sexually assaulted or raped them, and that the rape myth of being raped or sexually assaulted in a dark alley or at gunpoint is the exception and not the rule, whereas these are more common. That’s what the prosecution expert witness testified to in this case. So, whether the jury buys into that argument and whether the jury accepts that in 2020 is really the question of the day.”
Mr. Wigdor also noted that regardless of the outcome, three of his clients still have pending civil cases against Mr. Weinstein in which he will be required to testify under cross-examination (Mr. Weinstein did not testify in the criminal trial). When asked about the so-called civil settlement agreement that has been reported, Mr. Wigdor lamented that the proposed settlement would allocate “millions and millions of dollars” to creditors of The Weinstein Company, defense counsel for the directors of The Weinstein Company and plaintiffs’ counsel, thereby leaving very little money for the victims.
Mr. Wigdor also condemned attempts by Weinstein’s defense counsel to provide a release of claims so that any accusers who choose not to participate in the proposed civil settlement would not be able to pursue the insurance companies or directors of The Weinstein Company in litigation.
“If there’s an acquittal in the criminal trial and you have settled the civil cases — and Harvey Weinstein has accepted no responsibility and has paid no money — then he walks away scot-free. And I’m here to say that my clients, my three clients who already have civil claims, have not agreed to any civil settlement because they want to hold Harvey Weinstein accountable. We don’t know what’s going to happen in the criminal trial and the civil settlement is completely unfair.”
Jury deliberations are expected to begin Tuesday, February 18.
Watch the full interview below: