Harvey Weinstein has offered an unscripted defence of his use of private undercover investigators who allegedly tried to silence his accusers.
When a reporter asked Weinstein as he left his rape trial why he hired Black Cube, a firm founded by former intelligence analysts from the Israel Defence Forces, the Hollywood producer replied: “For days like this.”
Prosecutors say the firm’s investigators used fake identities to meet with journalists and track the accusers to thwart publication of stories about Weinstein’s alleged sex offences.
The jury heard evidence about the Black Cube deal from a lawyer who helped arrange it. Weinstein hired the firm in 2017, as reporters from The New Yorker and The New York Times were looking into his behaviour with women.
Those stories, published in October 2017, ushered in the #MeToo movement as scores more women came forward with allegations against Weinstein and other prominent figures in industries from Hollywood to Wall Street.
The jury of seven men and five women saw an email from Weinstein to someone at Black Cube reading: “Red flags are the ones of interest” – what prosecutors say was a reference to list of names marked in red to identify accusers.
Those names included Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who told the court last week that he overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on Mimi Haleyi, at the time a Project Runway production assistant, in 2006 and raping another aspiring actress in 2013. That woman could give evidence on Friday.
Weinstein has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.
On the seventh day of evidence, jurors also heard the ex-boyfriend of a fledgling actress describe how she came home “pretty shocked, upset, angry” and “kind of overall appalled” after a hotel room meeting where she says Weinstein offered her movie roles in exchange for three-way sex.
Lincoln Davies, who was dating Dawn Dunning in 2004, was called as a prosecution witness to bolster emotional evidence by Ms Dunning and another aspiring actress on Wednesday accusing Weinstein of preying on their vulnerabilities while pushing the notion that sex could lead to stardom.
Ms Dunning also said Weinstein put his hand up her skirt a few weeks earlier that same year. But Mr Davies said that she never told him about that.
Also taking the witness stand was the manager of the celebrity hangout where Tarale Wulff, then a cocktail waitress, alleged that Weinstein masturbated in front of her on a secluded terrace.
Maurizio Ferrigno said he saw Weinstein and Wulff heading up a stairway, but conceded on cross-examination that prosecutors helped jog his memory of the moment, which Ms Wulff says happened about 15 years ago.