Weinstein Attorney Says Accuser Annabella Sciorra "Has Spent an Entire Life Acting for a Living"

Lawyer Donna Rotunno and movie producer Harvey Weinstein depart from New York Supreme Court - Getty - H 2019

"The public's biggest misconceptions come from the assumptions that have been made through the help of media," the disgraced former film mogul wrote in an email interview with CNN.

With Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial just days away, the former film producer and his criminal defense attorney Donna Rotunno discussed celebrity accusers, media coverage over allegations against him plus plans post-trial if he is found not guilty.

Rotunno spoke with CNN on Friday about the case, which begins Monday in Manhattan, and how she would handle cross-examining celebrities such as accuser Annabella Sciorra.

Rotunno said the actress "has spent an entire life acting for a living" and the attorney anticipates "she will be an excellent witness on the stand."

"I'm sure that she will be prepared to answer my questions," Rotunno continued. "She will be ready for what I'm going to ask her. I think the circumstances, and the facts, and the evidence in the case will show to the jury that her statements don't rise to the level of what the prosecutor is asking the jury to convict Mr. Weinstein on."

Rotunno added in her interview that her client would be "the first one to say he did bad things" but he is not a criminal. "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," she added.

While Rotunno appeared on air for her interview, Weinstein's was conducted via email. 

"The past two years have been grueling and have presented me with a great opportunity for self-reflection," Weinstein wrote to CNN. "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."

Weinstein declined to answer whether he felt empathy for his accusers, totaling more than 80 since initial reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker in October 2017.

"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 told CNN.

Speaking on the media's coverage of allegations against him, of which he has pled not guilty to, Weinstein said "the public's biggest misconceptions come from the assumptions that have been made through the help of media."

If found not guilty in the trial, Weinstein shared that he will focus "on my children, my health and rest."

"If I can do something positive to advance the causes that I had always championed, I hope to find a way to do so," he added. 

As for a return into the entertainment landscape, Weinstein said "it will take a bit of work to build back to it," while adding that if he can return, he plans to focus on "doing something good and building places that help heal and comfort others."

Ahead of the trial, Weinstein also spoke with the New York Post, calling himself a "forgotten man" while also discussing his charity work and shooting down speculation he is faking an illness to get sympathy. 

Read the full interview on CNN.