‘Everyone Did It’: Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Says ‘Transactional Sex’ With Powerful Men Was Common Before MeToo Movement

‘Everyone Did It’: Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Says ‘Transactional Sex’ With Powerful Men Was Common Before MeToo Movement

Harvey Weinstein’s defense lawyers told the jury that their client behaved in a manner that was accepted at the time before the MeToo movement changed everything.

Weinstein’s second sexual assault trial began this week in Los Angeles, with eight women ready to testify against the former Hollywood producer. But Weinstein’s attorneys say the women were willing participants in those sexual acts because they stood to gain from them, according to Variety.

“Look at my client,” attorney Mark Werksman said to the jury. “He’s not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think these beautiful women had sex with him because he’s hot? No, it’s because he’s powerful.”

Werksman admitted that Hollywood is different now, but at the time the alleged incidents occurred, “transactional sex” was used and accepted in the industry. “Sex was a commodity” for “rich and powerful men, like my client,” he continued, referencing the infamous “casting couch” where the sexual acts took place.

“Transactional sex … it may have been unpleasant … and now embarrassing,” Werksman continued. “[But] everyone did it. He did it. They did it.”

“The sequel to the casting couch is the #MeToo trial,” the attorney said. “They will play the part of the damsel in distress with this beast. They have to lie to themselves, to you, to this court.”

“Their hypocrisy will be on full display,” he added. 

Meanwhile, the prosecution had earlier described Weinstein as a predator who sexually assaulted women against their will. The prosecution’s opening statement included quotes from women who claim the producer forced them to participate in oral sex plus groped, fondled, and raped them, then threatened retaliation if they spoke up.

Werksman said since the alleged abuse happened so long ago, it will come down to the jury deciding who to believe.

“With tremendous fame and fortune came fame of fortune seekers,” Weinstein’s defense said. He reiterated that the accusers all engaged in “consensual sex with Mr. Weinstein because they wanted to exploit their connection with Mr. Weinstein” and knew they were having “sex in exchange for something with value.”

Werksman focused on one of the accusers, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. The attorney called her a “prominent figure of the #MeToo movement” who had consensual sex with Weinstein and later called it rape. 

The defense used Weinstein’s campaign contributions as proof of his version of events. “She brought her husband to meet and party with her rapist. Who does that?” Werksman said. “He took money from his wife’s rapist for his political campaigns.”

Finally, the attorney said if Siebel Newsom wasn’t married to the governor, “she’d be just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead.”