A producer was called to the stand by Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers to testify about his former friendship with Annabella Sciorra — and then prosecutors used his own texts to reveal his close relationship with Weinstein.
Paul Feldsher, a New York–based film producer, was called to tell the jury about how Sciorra allegedly told him about a consensual encounter she had with Weinstein. During his testimony on Thursday, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon used Feldsher’s text messages to show that he and Weinstein were in frequent contact after allegations against the producer were made public in 2017.
Illuzzi-Orbon read out text messages Feldsher sent Weinstein alleging that the “dogpile” of women “recalling repressed memories” was “hideous” and telling him, “until you are proven legally guilty, I will continue to be that politically incorrect person who defends you.”
“I had no idea that my text messages would end up in court,” Feldsher said.
Feldsher was the first witness the defense called to testify after prosecutors rested their case Thursday morning. Feldsher said in court that Annabella Sciorra — who testified earlier this month that Weinstein raped her — had told him that she “did a crazy thing with Harvey” at some point in the early 1990s.
Feldsher testified that he assumed Sciorra was referring to “fooling around” with Weinstein.
“As I recall if it had been something provocative or something that had frightened her, I can’t imagine that it wouldn’t have evoked something more,” he said. “There was no component of what she said that was shocking or stressful.” Feldsher also said that he recalled Sciorra was taking Xanax and drinking alcohol “a lot” during that period of time.
Feldsher testified that Sciorra and he had been close friends three decades ago — but under cross-examination, he revealed he did not know her friends and had never visited her Gramercy Park apartment.
“We have not been in touch for seven years, but I still care about her,” he said.
Things took a dramatic turn when Illuzzi-Orbon presented Feldsher with text messages that he’d exchanged with Weinstein, including ones discussing Sciorra.
In one message, Feldsher described Weinstein as “voracious” when it came to “a script, a movie or yes, a girl.”
When Illuzzi-Orbon asked Feldsher what he meant by that, he described Weinstein as someone with “extreme appetites” and said he had a sex addiction.
“I probably shouldn’t have called him a sex addict,” he later said.
Illuzzi-Orbon then presented texts between Feldsher and Weinstein where they discussed Sciorra.
Earlier this month, during her testimony, Sciorra read out a text message she received from Feldsher after she spoke publicly about her alleged abuse to the New Yorker. In the message, Feldsher said he was “sorry about a bunch of stuff” and that he “Would love healing and peace, and friend back, I hope you are all well. Current events are way too much for text, but obviously acknowledge goes to that awfulness, X.”
Around the same time, Feldsher texted Weinstein: “I think she’s full of shit.”
“I know you guys had an awkward whatever the fuck night twenty years ago,” he wrote.
In another message to Weinstein, Feldsher called Sciorra as “an asshole” and said, “The rape version got her an agent at CAA, so there’s that.”
Feldsher also texted Weinstein about other women who had said he had allegedly sexually assaulted them. “I think the dogpile of women who are suddenly brave in recalling repressed memories is hideous,” he wrote.
“I was speaking to him partially because nobody else was,” Feldsher said in court. “I felt badly that he was completely abandoned. I felt bad that it would be difficult for him to be the recipient of due process.”
Illuzzi-Orbon asked Feldsher if he was “just saying what the defendant wanted to hear” — both in his text messages and in the courtroom.
“No,” Feldsher replied.
Illuzzi-Orbon then presented Feldsher with a final message — this one from Weinstein to him. It simply read: “I love u.”