BREAKING NEWS : Police in standoff with alleged armed suspect on South Wayne Avenue Full Story

Harvey Weinstein addresses his pending criminal trial

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein's lawyer says, 'We have a wealth of evidence in our arsenal to be able to say these cases don't rise to the level of rape.'

Posted: Jan 4, 2020 5:30 PM
Updated: Jan 4, 2020 5:30 PM

Days away from the start of a criminal trial at the center of the #MeToo movement and a potential conviction that could send him to prison for decades, Harvey Weinstein is addressing the 26 months since the allegations of sexual misconduct against him were first brought to light.

The highly-anticipated rape trial against Weinstein begins Monday. The former film producer answered eight questions from CNN via email.

"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."

Since initial bombshell reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse ranging from harassment to rape. He is charged with predatory sexual assault, a criminal sexual act, first-degree rape and third-degree rape.

The case against Weinstein centers on an allegation that he raped a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013, and a second woman who accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her at his Manhattan apartment in 2006.

Other Weinstein accusers will be permitted to take the stand as witnesses throughout the trial to illustrate an alleged pattern of abusive behavior.

He has pleaded not guilty and has repeatedly denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Weinstein declined to answer if he felt empathy for his accusers.

"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 responded.

In a statement through Time's Up on Thursday, 25 women who came forward with allegations against Weinstein addressed the significance of his trial.

"This trial is critical to show that predators everywhere will be held accountable and that speaking up can bring about real change," their statement read in part. "We refused to be silenced and will continue to speak out until this unrepentant abuser is brought to justice."

CNN spoke to Weinstein's criminal defense attorney, Donna Rotunno, 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 also believes that the media has sensationalized the allegations against him.

"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."

Weinstein, who is recovering from back surgery last month, told CNN he's been leaning on his "family, friends and loved ones" leading up to trial "to help me get through this."

Weinstein and his ex-wife, Georgina Chapman, divorced shortly after the allegations against him surfaced.

"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."

Although Weinstein maintains his current focus is the criminal trial ahead, he has contemplated what his life may look like beyond that.

"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."

His former movie studio, The Weinstein Company, which he co-founded in 2005 with his now estranged brother, Bob Weinstein, is no more. But he believes it is possible for him to rebuild a career in the film industry.

"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."

Since the allegations against him became public, Weinstein has been relatively reclusive.

"I spend the vast majority of my free time working with my legal and communications teams," Weinstein responded. "I read several books a week on history, politics and fiction. My main focus has been proving my innocence and clearing my name."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 701971

Reported Deaths: 13187
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion958051716
Lake51105939
Allen38867670
Hamilton34212404
St. Joseph33638539
Elkhart27021431
Vanderburgh22016393
Tippecanoe21602212
Johnson17408373
Porter17157297
Hendricks16711310
Clark12640190
Madison12287337
Vigo12139244
Monroe11336166
LaPorte10760204
Delaware10288184
Howard9606211
Kosciusko9051113
Hancock7922139
Bartholomew7839153
Warrick7671155
Floyd7533176
Wayne6871198
Grant6755168
Boone6517100
Morgan6362138
Dubois6068117
Marshall5743108
Dearborn566975
Cass5668102
Henry5558100
Noble536983
Jackson491869
Shelby476895
Lawrence4324118
Gibson426889
Harrison426070
Montgomery416286
Clinton415053
DeKalb405483
Huntington376480
Whitley374939
Miami371365
Knox364889
Steuben361357
Putnam351760
Wabash345877
Jasper344846
Adams337652
Ripley333268
Jefferson310779
White307154
Daviess288699
Wells284780
Decatur278592
Fayette276962
Greene269985
Posey268133
Scott259853
Clay252044
LaGrange250970
Randolph234380
Washington230329
Spencer227431
Jennings224447
Fountain207445
Sullivan207342
Starke201152
Owen191456
Fulton190439
Jay185529
Carroll185220
Perry179136
Orange176253
Rush170224
Vermillion165643
Franklin165135
Tipton160843
Parke143716
Blackford132631
Pike130034
Pulaski112945
Newton102834
Brown99340
Crawford96914
Benton95613
Martin82215
Warren78715
Switzerland7698
Union69510
Ohio55511
Unassigned0405

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1045945

Reported Deaths: 18917
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1214131352
Cuyahoga1060882061
Hamilton778281165
Montgomery49815988
Summit45000907
Lucas39675760
Butler37582568
Stark31296894
Lorain24038472
Warren23805291
Mahoning20777583
Lake19885362
Clermont19387228
Delaware17933130
Licking16066206
Fairfield15618196
Trumbull15500459
Medina14787259
Greene14593236
Clark13542288
Wood12664184
Portage12277194
Allen11281229
Richland11001198
Miami10500212
Muskingum8676127
Wayne8523209
Columbiana8515226
Pickaway8414120
Tuscarawas8347239
Marion8342135
Erie7509153
Ross6687145
Hancock6666123
Geauga6520146
Ashtabula6436164
Scioto6271100
Belmont5578158
Union555147
Lawrence5454102
Jefferson5271147
Huron5265113
Darke5256121
Sandusky5158119
Seneca5084118
Washington5056107
Athens497454
Auglaize473984
Mercer470084
Shelby454689
Knox4363108
Madison420458
Putnam419398
Ashland411586
Fulton406266
Defiance399496
Brown384855
Crawford3848100
Logan371976
Preble369298
Clinton359359
Ottawa354278
Highland345759
Williams321674
Champaign317856
Jackson306151
Guernsey305348
Perry289249
Fayette276748
Morrow274139
Henry262866
Hardin262663
Coshocton257857
Holmes252399
Van Wert238562
Gallia232946
Pike232331
Adams227152
Wyandot225553
Hocking208458
Carroll188547
Paulding168238
Meigs141138
Noble132537
Monroe128741
Morgan106423
Harrison104936
Vinton81314
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 36°
Angola
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 32°
Huntington
Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 40°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 36°
Lima
Cloudy
44° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
There will be more clouds around than sunshine for most of the day and highs will top out in the upper 40s.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events