12:34pm PT by Jeremy Barr
Former Weinstein Co. Board Member Lance Maerov Testifies Against Harvey
In their case against Harvey Weinstein, the People of the State of New York called former Weinstein Co. board member Lance Maerov as their first witness on Wednesday afternoon.
Asked whether Weinstein was litigious, Maerov responded: “He specifically threatened personal litigation against me.”
Maerov said that Weinstein “was not happy about it” when he was made lead outside director to TWC in 2013. (He said the company “had the weakest governance” and “was the most investor-unfriendly” of any corporation he served on the board of.)
Maerov joined the board as an observer as part of public relations company WPP’s investment in TWC. He resigned from the board in 2018 as part of TWC’s sale to Lantern Capital Partners.
Maerov was also asked to discuss Weinstein’s power more broadly. “Harvey was an extremely influential and powerful person in the entertainment industry,” he said. “By winning awards and creating job opportunities for actors and actresses, he had a lot of currency with actors and actresses — and with agents. He also had quite a lot of influence in the trade media.”
Maerov said that Weinstein’s public persona was “diametrically opposed to who he was as a person.”
Throughout the testimony, Weinstein’s lawyers frequently objected to the questions asked by assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi.
“You don’t like Mr. Weinstein, do you?” Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno asked Maerov on cross-examination. “Not particularly,” he responded.
At the end of Wednesday's session, assistant district attorney Meghan Hast told the jurors that Google provided email data for both Weinstein's personal Gmail address and that of one of the "prior bad acts" witnesses — Lauren Young — pursuant to a court order. (At one point in his testimony, the lead prosecutor asked Maerov to recite Weinstein’s email addresses, which he did successfully.)
Arthur Aidala, an attorney for Weinstein, once again called for a mistrial, saying that it was "inappropriate" for Hast to refer to his client as a "predator" and "disgusting" in her opening statement on Wednesday morning.
He also complained about the prosecution's decision to show the jurors a photo of Weinstein with former President Bill Clinton. "Why highlight the Clintons?" he asked, suggesting it was timed with the beginning of the Senate impeachment trial against President Donald Trump.
Judge James M. Burke denied Aidala's motion for a retrial.