Harvey Weinstein, an “abusive rapist,” saw his alleged victims as “ants who he could step on” but ultimately “underestimated” them, lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi told jurors Friday as his rape trial nears its end.
After the defense in Weinstein’s trial rested its case earlier this week and made its closing argument Thursday, Illuzzi on Friday began to wrap the prosecution’s case, saying the disgraced producer saw himself as “the master of his universe, and the witnesses here were really ants who he could step on without consequences,” per The Hollywood Reporter.
Weinstein is facing sexual assault and rape charges stemming from the allegations of two women, one of whom alleges he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 and one of whom alleges he raped her in 2013. Four additional accusers testified in the trial. Weinstein’s defense has argued the encounters were consensual and throughout the trial has pointed to witnesses maintaining contact with Weinstein.
But Illuzzi in her closing argument said Weinstein “made sure he had contact” with the women “to make sure that one day they wouldn’t call him for exactly what he was: an abusive rapist,” Variety reports. “Well, he was wrong.” For this reason, Illuzzi said Weinstein “underestimated them.”
Defense attorney Donna Rotunno on Thursday suggested one of Weinstein’s accusers, Annabella Sciorra, made up her rape claim against him in order to become “relevant” and a “star.” Illuzzi in her closing argument strongly refuted this idea.
“How Hollywood movie star is it for Annabella Sciorra to have to tell you that she was cutting herself and she was dabbing her blood with a tissue, putting it on the wall, and putting gold foil over it?” Illuzzi asked, per the Reporter. “Do you think that’s a career booster?”
Following the conclusion of closing arguments, the jury is set to begin deliberations next week. Weinstein is facing the possibility of life in prison. Brendan Morrow