Harvey Weinstein’s defense team received a gag order from the judge Tuesday after an op-ed was published.
Lead defense lawyer Donna Rotunno published an op-ed in Newsweek over the weekend stating the case for why the jury should acquit Weinstein. Prosecutors claimed in court Tuesday the op-ed was “inappropriate,” according to a report published by Page Six.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, published a column in Newsweek over the weekend that was directly addressed to jurors in Weinstein’s rape trial. As jury deliberations began on Tuesday, prosecutors said it amounted to witness tampering.https://t.co/khSQgjZ4Jw
— The New York Times (@nytimes) February 18, 2020
“In the op-ed piece, she actually speaks directly to the jury,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the judge. “It is completely 100 percent inappropriate behavior. It borders on tampering with a jury.”
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke sided with the prosecution.
“Defense team, you’re ordered to refrain from communicating to the press until there is a verdict in the [case], and I’d caution you about the tentacles of your public relations juggernaut,” Burke told Weinstein’s defense lawyers.
Rotunno slammed news coverage of Weinstein’s case and encouraged the jury to focus on the facts. (RELATED: Harvey Weinstein Does Not Have Testicles, Rape Accuser Testifies)
“Mr. Weinstein’s jurors have an obligation to themselves and their country, to base their verdict solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom,” Rotunno wrote. “I expect a fair and impartial jury for Mr. Weinstein and every other American.”
“I implore the members of this jury to do what they know is right and was expected of them from the moment they were called upon to serve their civic duty in a court of law,” she added. “The facts are the facts. Harvey Weinstein is innocent. His fate hangs in the balance, and the world is watching.”
The jury began deliberations Tuesday morning after hearing testimony from accusers and character witnesses. Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted.