The first defense witness in Harvey Weinstein's trial branded the producer a "sex addict" and admitted he thought he was "aggressive" in court on Thursday (06.02.20).
The disgraced movie mogul - who is facing five charges relating to sexual assault, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of criminal sex act - and his legal team called former Miramax consultant Paul Feldsher to the stand, where he was quizzed in front of jurors about text messages he'd sent to the producer.
Lead prosuector Joan Illuzzi-Orbon asked: "On Nov. 1, 2018, did you say to Harvey Weinstein that you believe there's likely a bunch of truth to the claims that you behaved like a cad and more?"
The witness confirmed he did and was then asked about text messages - which were not shown to jurors or entered into evidence - he and Weinstein had exchanged in Autumn 2018.
The lawyer asked: "Did you also say to Harvey Weinstein that your appetite and ambition for the things you want -- a script, a movie, and yes, a girl -- to put it mildly, is voracious."
Paul replied: "Yes, I did. What I meant by that was Harvey was very dogged in his pursuit of projects and material, etc., etc."
Asked if that meant he'd agree Weinstein is an "extremely aggressive person", he confirmed: "Yes."
The witness was then asked about the meaning of a message when he called Weinstein "voracious" with "girls".
He replied: "I meant that it was my understanding for a very long time that Harvey had a sex addiction and that he dated a lot of women."
He then confirmed the text also read: "If a lot of these girls had been my daughter, I'd want to beat the s**t out of you.' Is that right?"
But Paul insisted he had just been trying to be a "friend" to Weinstein and understood his "extremes", though he didn't think he was "capable" of doing the things he's been accused of.
He said: "Um, I think I was trying -- I mean, obviously, because any of -- the thought of my child, my daughter is 13, so the thought of anyone, anything in that context I find abhorrent at this point.
"And I guess I was trying to put into context -- look, I was trying to be a friend and to say I know the extremes of your personality. I know the extremes of your appetite. But I did not believe that he was capable of the thing that he had been charged with."
Asked about his comment that he understood Weinstein to be a sex addict, he said: "I believe he had a voracious appetite that I spoke of and, I think, yes, also applied to his appetite for women."
Later during cross-examination, Paul admitted that he'd referred to the accusers as a "dog pile of actresses" in another message.
Asked what he meant, he said: "I meant a plethora -- I was not referring to the animal, I just was talking about the number."
The consultant had been called to the stand to counter actress Annabella Sciorra's testimony last month, when she told the court she had been raped then threatened by the producer in the early 1990s.
Paul explained he had counted the actress as one of his "closest friends" for several years but didn't find anything "shocking" in what she told him of her "crazy" encounter with the producer.
He said: "I remember Annabella saying to me that she'd done this crazy thing with Harvey.
"We were on an extremely long walk that night from Lincoln Center and ended up going to a restaurant in Alphabet City....
"There was no component about what [Sciorra] said that I found shocking or alarming and I don't recall it being stressful.
"My understanding was that she fooled around."
Weinstein has denied the allegations against him. The case continues.