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Defense Team Begins Presenting Its Case In Harvey Weinstein Trial


Harvey Weinstein's defense team has begun presenting its case in New York City. NPR's Rose Friedman has been in that courthouse for the entire trial, and she brought us this. And just a quick warning, this story deals with sex crimes.

ROSE FRIEDMAN, BYLINE: The first defense witness was Paul Feldsher. A friend of actress Annabella Sciorra, Feldsher was called to refute her allegations that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s. Feldsher described going on a long walk with Sciorra, where she'd told him she'd done a, quote, "crazy thing with Harvey." Nothing made him think the event was unwanted. My understanding was that she fooled around with him, he said.

Then it was prosecutor Joan Illuzzi's turn and the story changed. She began quoting from texts that Feldsher had sent to Harvey Weinstein, who he was also friends with. He wrote, I think the dog pile of actresses who are suddenly brave and recalling suppressed memories are hideous - then from another, your appetite and ambition for the things you want - a script, a movie, and, yes, a girl - to put it mildly, voracious.

Some called Sciorra names we can't repeat on the radio. Feldsher admitted he said what he thought Weinstein wanted to hear. And that's what you're doing today, Illuzzi accused, saying things in this courtroom that you think Harvey Weinstein wants to hear. Illuzzi also read a supportive text Feldsher sent to Annabella Sciorra. I hope you're well. Current events are way too much for texts, but obviously acknowledgement goes to that awfulness.

For the last two weeks, jurors have listened to women tell harrowing stories. Weinstein's lawyers attempted to poke holes in their credibility and tried to prove the relationships were consensual if transactional. Weinstein is charged with five counts of rape and assault.

Rose Friedman, NPR News, New York.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANAN RYOKO'S "UTAKATA") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Rose Friedman is an Associate Editor for NPR's Arts, Books & Culture desk. She edits radio pieces on a range of subjects, including books, pop culture, fine arts, theater, obituaries and the occasional Harry Potter-check-in. She is also co-creator of NPR's annual Book Concierge and the podcast recommendation site In addition, Rose has edited commentaries for the network, as well as regular features like This Week's Must Read on All Things Considered.