Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer Said Her Controversial New York Times Interview Was Recorded "A Long Time Ago." The Paper Said It Was Last Week.
Prosecutors in the case argued Donna Rotunno's interview violated the judge's order.
Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno said in court that an interview the New York Times podcast The Daily, which aired Friday, was recorded "a long time ago" before the criminal trial began and that she was not aware of the day it would go live.
But a spokesperson for the New York Times confirmed to BuzzFeed News that the interview was in fact recorded last week, on Jan. 28 — while the trial was well underway — and that Rotunno was made aware of the airdate.
In the podcast episode, Rotunno was interviewed by Megan Twohey, one of the investigative reporters who broke the Weinstein story in 2017. In the interview, Rotunno said she was never sexually assaulted "because I would never put myself in that position."
While the interview was wide-ranging, prosecutors argued it violated Judge James Burke's previous order directing lawyers to not discuss the case and the witnesses in public.
"Leave the witnesses alone," Burke said on the first day of the trial in early January. "Don't talk about them in any capacity. Just excise the witnesses from your communications."
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon addressed Burke on Friday after the jury had been dismissed.
"Apparently this morning Ms. Rotunno went on a live broadcast for the New York Times. I think it is called The Daily," Illuzzi-Orbon said.
"She's calling our witnesses liars and celebrity victimhood status, and it is completely in contradiction to your order," she added.
Rotunno told the court that the interview was recorded "a long time ago."
"I have not spoke to anyone in the media," she said. "Have not spoke to anyone since we started this case. That was taped a while ago, and I did not speak about any witness individually. I talked about a multitude of issues with regard to questions that were asked of me. It was done — it was really me going into the lion's den, not the other way around."
When Illuzzi-Orborn told the judge that Rotunno knew the interview would be broadcast today, Weinstein's attorney said: "I had no idea. I got a call this morning from a friend who heard it. I was not told by them, I have no idea."
A New York Times spokesperson said the interview was recorded Jan. 28 — a day after a key witness's testimony — and aired Feb. 7.
"Donna Rotunno was made aware of this air date," the spokesperson said.
Rotunno did not immediately respond to a request for comment.