Louise Godbold, an alleged victim of Harvey Weinstein, criticized his defense attorney Donna Rotunno on Monday.
“I know the women who are testifying,” Godbold told Law&Crime Network host Linda Kenney Baden. “And I consider them extremely brave because Harvey’s defense lawyer obviously is not going to pull any punches, and she thinks because she’s a woman, she can get away with it, but it’s disgusting. It’s a disgusting way to treat sexual assault survivors and women who have so bravely come forward at great personal cost to their careers, to their relationships with their families, and sacrificing their privacy.”
Godbold has taken issue with Rotunno’s stance that, as a female defense lawyer, Rotunno can get away with being aggressive on cross-examination with female sexual assault accusers.
“I have the ability to get away with a lot more in a courtroom cross-examining a female than a male lawyer does,” she said in a February 2018 profile by Chicago magazine. “He may be an excellent lawyer, but if he goes at that woman with the same venom that I do, he looks like a bully. If I do it, nobody even bats an eyelash. And it’s been very effective.”
(Baden used to be involved in the Weinstein case. She said Monday on the Law&Crime Network that two of the defendant’s now-former attorneys brought her on to give an opinion on something.)
Rotunno’s choice of words was more circumspect when asked Monday about her previous statements on cross-examining women, and she tossed aside the phrasing she used in 2018.
“You know I’ve commented on this over, and over, and over again,” she told reporters in New York City. “It isn’t about getting away with anything. It’s about the fact these lawyers standing with me [both men] are just as competent and skilled to ask the same questions that I ask. As a woman, the effects on the listener is different. And when a woman has a conversation with a woman, and questions a woman, the listener views it in a different way.”
Weinstein is scheduled to stand trial in New York City for allegedly raping a woman in 2013, and sexually assaulting a production assistant in 2006. Rotunno, one of his attorneys in the case, has said that there’s evidence the relationships were consensual, and that these were continuing relationships.
Godbold is one of more than 80 women who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. She said he sexually abused her in two instances.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime]