Weinstein Lawyer: ‘Dangerous’ To Believe All Accusers

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Long before the many allegations against Harvey Weinstein set off a reckoning over sexual harassment, his attorney, Donna Rotunno, was building a career as a lawyer in Chicago defending men accused of sex crimes. As the #MeToo movement grew, she embraced the argument that a public rush to condemn men accused of sexual misconduct and assault was ruining reputations and careers without due process. Even if the movement helped the feminist cause, she said, it came at too high a price, the New York Times reports. “We can’t have movements that strip us of our fundamental rights,” she says. In response, rape-victim advocate Jane Manning, a former New York City sex crimes prosecutor, countered that Rotunno’s “willingness to claim that #MeToo has gone too far is attached to a steady stream of big paychecks, but is not supported by the facts,”

Rotunno, a former prosecutor in Illinois working on domestic violence cases and felony crimes, contends that many of her clients are considered guilty until proved innocent. While women should never be forced to do things they do not want to do, she said, she thinks they also must bear responsibility for their decisions. “Having voluntary sex with someone even if it is a begrudging act is not a crime after the fact,” she says. “What happens with #BelieveAllWomen is that we’re just supposed to believe you without any pushback, or questioning, or cross-examination. I think that’s dangerous.”

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