Harvey Weinstein branded 'abusive rapist' by prosecutors in sexual assault case

Harvey Weinstein has been branded an "abusive rapist" by prosecutors in his ongoing sexual assault case.

The 67-year-old disgraced producer is currently on trial in Manhattan for five counts pertaining to sexual assault, and in closing statements given by the prosecution on Friday (14.02.20) he was slammed as an "abuser" and a "rapist" for the allegations made by the three women who's claims form the basis of his charges - Annabella Sciorra, Miriam 'Mimi' Haleyi, and Jessica Mann.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the Manhattan Supreme Court jury: "To the lead defendant it has been said he was the master of the universe and the witnesses here were merely ants that he could step on without consequences.

"Moreover he felt like he had a surefire insurance policy that the witnesses were standing in line to get into his universe. 'The universe is run by me', and therefore they don't get to complain when they're stepped on, spit on, demoralised and raped and abused by the defendant."

Illuzi-Orbon asked the jury - which is comprised of seven men and five women - to see that Weinstein "not only ran roughshod over the dignity and indeed the very life of these witnesses, but the fact that he also underestimated them".

She then added: "He made sure he had contact with the people he was worried about ... to make sure they wouldn't walk out of the shadows and call him exactly what he was - an abusive rapist."

The prosecution's closing argument comes after the defence gave their final statements on Thursday (13.02.20), where defence attorney Donna Rotunno urged the jury to use their "common sense" to find Weinstein not guilty.

She said: "The district attorneys have failed to make their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and on behalf of Mr. Weinstein, we are imploring you to tell them that by [ruling] not guilty.

"You may have had a gut feeling that Harvey Weinstein was guilty. Throw that gut feeling right out the window.

"You need to show that here in New York City, in the United States of America, we don't cave to pressure. The time to do the right thing is right now.

"I'm going to ask that you use your New York City common sense. Every time you feel emotion taking over, let common sense guide you. This is not a popularity contest ... in this country, it's the unpopular people that need juries most."

Weinstein is facing two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of criminal sex act, and has entered a plea of not guilty for all charges.

He has also denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.