Weinstein drew up 'red flag list' of women, rape trial told

3 min

New York (AFP)

Harvey Weinstein instructed a private investigator to probe women that he suspected were detailing sexual misconduct allegations against him to journalists, his rape trial heard Friday.

Two months before the #MeToo movement ignited in late 2017, the then Hollywood titan emailed a "red flag list" of people he wanted investigated, prosecutors and a witness said at the trial which began hearing testimony this week.

The list included dozens of names, some of which were highlighted in red to indicate individuals that the now-disgraced movie producer was most concerned about.

They included the actress Rose McGowan, who Weinstein alleged was trying to extort him, and "The Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who in testimony on Thursday accused him of rape.

Weinstein, 67, faces life imprisonment if convicted of predatory sexual assault charges related to two women.

He is accused of raping actress Jessica Mann in 2013 and of forcibly performing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.

Investigator Sam Anson told the New York court that he received the email from Weinstein on August 17, 2017 but did not carry out his instructions.

Anson, who now works for Guidepost Solutions but then ran his own firm, testified that he also had a telephone conversation with Weinstein around the same time.

"He said that there was concern that articles were being written about him that would discuss his sexual conduct in a negative way," Anson recalled.

The New York Times and New Yorker magazine detailed sexual assault allegations against Weinstein in October 2017, sparking the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

More than 80 women, including Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, have since accused him of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

Defense attorneys have presented correspondence between Mann and Weinstein which they say show the pair were "in a loving relationship."

On Friday, the prosecution called forensic psychiatrist Barbara Ziv to dispel several "myths" surrounding rape.

Pennsylvania-based Ziv, who testified when comedian Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault, said victims of sexual assault commonly remain in contact with their attacker for years after the incident.

"That contact can range from text messages to emails to continuing a relationship with them," she said.

- 'Trauma' -

Weinstein, wearing a dark suit, switched between scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad and tapping his fingers anxiously on the desk during Ziv's testimony.

The psychiatrist said victims often keep quiet about an attack because they possess some sort of affection for the abuser.

The perpetrator may also have the power to wreck their job and other relationships, she added.

"I can handle this trauma but God forbid they could ruin the rest of my life and make it impossible for me to go on," victims sometimes think, Ziv said.

Defense attorney Damon Cheronis challenged Ziv on whether women ever report a consensual sexual encounter as a rape years later "out of shame."

"Anything is possible, (but) it's not usual," she replied.

Cosby was in September 2018 sentenced to a minimum of three years in jail for drugging and sexually assaulting a woman 15 years ago.