Harvey Weinstein's lawyer says 'transactional sex' was a Hollywood norm, says accusers lying

"Do you think these beautiful women had sex with him because he's hot? No, it's because he's powerful."

Published: October 25, 2022 5:00pm

Updated: October 25, 2022 6:11pm

Harvey Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman told the jury in his client's ongoing trial that the women accusing him had engaged in "transactional sex" that was consensual and had made sexual assault allegations against Weinstein to fit the #MeToo narrative.

"Transactional sex... it may have been unpleasant... and now embarrassing," Werksman said, per Variety. "[But] everyone did it. He did it. They did it... The sequel to the casting couch is the #MeToo trial."

"They will play the part of the damsel in distress with this beast," Werksman said of Weinstein's accusers. "They have to lie to themselves, to you, to this court... Their hypocrisy will be on full display."

Weinstein's career as a film producer took a nosedive in the wake of the #MeToo movement, during which a bevy of women accused him of sexual assault, among other allegations. In February 2020, Weinstein was convicted of rape and criminal sexual assault. He received 23 years in prison for those convictions. The ongoing trial involves a separate set of allegations.

A bevy of other women have come forward with claims against Weinstein, however, whom Werksman asserts engaged in "consensual sex with Mr. Weinstein because they wanted to exploit their connection with [him]." In the process of making that argument, the defense attorney argued against his client's appearance as a factor motivating sex.

"Look at my client," Werksman said, pointing to Weinstein. "He's not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think these beautiful women had sex with him because he's hot? No, it's because he's powerful."

The defense further pointed to the lack of forensic evidence in the cases, noting the absence of police reports, rape kits, DNA evidence, or anything else to substantiate these accusations against Weinstein. "If an accuser waits years, the allegation boils down to her word," he said.

The prosecution, meanwhile, presented quotes to the jury from Weinstein's accusers detailing alleged instances of him engaging in forcible oral sex, groping, rape and fondling, per Variety. It further intends to counter Werksman's assertions about the accusers waiting to go public by bringing in a forensic psychiatrist.

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