Weinstein’s Lawyers Claim Accuser’s “False Version” of Events Merits L.A. Retrial

A new motion cites interviews with jurors who say they wouldn’t have convicted had they known the woman had a relationship with another producer

Harvey Weinstein asked for a new Los Angeles trial based on a judge’s decision to bar some messages between one of his accusers and an influential Italian producer while claiming a “false version” of her story was presented at the proceedings that ended with the former Hollywood titan’s December conviction on rape charges.

The 33-page motion for a new trial also alleges that the accuser, a European model identified in court as Jane Doe 1, told prosecutors privately during a break in testimony that she had a sexual encounter with L.A. Italia Film Festival founder Pascal Vicedomini, the man in question, and that she feared Weinstein’s lawyers would press her about their relationship in cross-examination. 

This was after the accuser testified that she and Vicedomini were merely friends and colleagues, and said nothing on the stand about the relationship going any further. However, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench didn’t allow Weinstein’s lawyers to ask questions about Jane Doe 1’s new, private admission that the relationship was at one point sexual.

Weinstein’s lawyers—Mark Werksman, Alan Jackson, Kelly Quinn, and Jacqueline Sparagna—argue that this was an error on Lench’s part and warrants a new trial, as evidence of a romantic interest supports their argument that the accuser is lying. They say she was with Vicedomini the night of the alleged rape on Feb. 18, 2013, instead of in her hotel room; their client never went to Mr. C’s hotel in Beverly Hills and no rape ever occurred, his attorneys maintain. 

Jane Doe 1 and Weinstein had met earlier that day during an event for the L.A. Italia Film Festival. She testified in court that she didn’t know how he knew the hotel or room where she was staying. In court, prosecutors implied Weinstein learned of her location from Vicedomini, whom the mogul knew through the film industry.

“Accordingly, the jury was left with a false impression that there was some plan to introduce Jane Doe 1 to Mr. Weinstein for some improper purpose, when, instead, Mr. Vicedomini was literally planning to have his own sexual encounter with Jane Doe 1 during the festival,” according to the motion from Weinstein’s attorneys. “The suggestion that he would have wanted to share his lover with Mr. Weinstein is absurd.”

Lench allowed some messages between Jane Doe 1 and Vicedomini to be used as evidence but she didn’t allow Facebook messages the two had sent to be admitted, nor did she allow any communique they exchanged in May 2013—three months after Jane Doe 1 says Weinstein attacked her at Mr. C’s hotel.

Defense lawyers interviewed three jurors after the trial and two said they would not have voted to convict Weinstein of raping Jane Doe 1 if they’d known of the messages establishing sexual interest between her and Vicedomini, they say in the filing. The admission would prove Jane Doe 1 lied in her testimony, the motion states.

“Clearly, that evidence that was excluded left the jury with an utterly false impression about the nature of Jane Doe 1 and Mr. Vicedomini’s relationship, which had a devastating impact on Mr. Weinstein’s defense,” the motion argues.

After hearing about six weeks of testimony, jurors deliberated for nine-and-a-half days over nearly three weeks before finding Weinstein guilty on Dec. 19 of forced oral copulation, forcible rape and penetration with a foreign object related to Jane Doe 1. She was the first trial witness and her emotional state while describing the attack led Lench to end proceedings early for the day after she finished. The accuser returned to the stand the following day and withstood hours of cross-examination that she later called “hell on the witness stand.”

Jane Doe 1 was the only alleged victim whose accusations led to a conviction in Weinstein’s West Coast trial. Jurors found him not guilty of sexual battery by restraint involving Jane Doe 3, a Hollywood masseuse, and were hung on an alternative misdemeanor charge. They also split 10-2 in favor of guilty for sexual battery by restraint involving the accusations of rape in 2013 by Jane Doe 2; the jury split 8-4 in favor of guilty for forced oral copulation and forcible rape charges involving a 2005 encounter with First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Weinstein, 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York after a jury convicted him of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape in February 2020. The state’s high court has agreed to hear his appeal.

The fallen mogul was extradited to Los Angeles in July 2021 and remains in custody at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility. Judge Lench is to consider his motion for a new trial on Feb. 23; if she doesn’t grant one, Weinstein will be sentenced that day.

Prosecutors are calling for him to receive 24 years in prison, to be served on top of his New York sentence.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. news, food, and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.