Jurors in My Client Harvey Weinstein's Case Must Look Past the Headlines | Opinion

Harvey Weinstein
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 14: Movie producer Harvey Weinstein departs his sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court with his lawyer Donna Rotunno (L) on February 14, 2020 in New York City. The weeks-long trial against Weinstein nears the end with the prosecution making closing arguments in today's trial. Getty

The United States justice system has proven fair and effective throughout the history of our nation. But not always.

The Constitution guarantees certain rights to defendants that juries have an obligation to uphold. I believe most jurors respect their duty to remain fair and impartial. Every so often though, a case comes along that dominates the headlines and pushes the limits of the system to a breaking point.

For the process to work as intended and to operate in good faith, jurors must accept the responsibility of not just considering the facts, testimony and evidence, but cutting through the noise of a media and public intent on injecting their narratives into the courtroom, twisting those facts to fit their point of view. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the media and public have no such burden.

Judges instruct jurors to avoid all media coverage and outside influences in making their decision. But in a high-profile case like Harvey Weinstein's, does anyone think that's realistically possible?

The mocking of Mr. Weinstein's walker, the unflattering courtroom-artist sketches of his body, the countless critical op-eds and biased stories, and the convenient timing of the politically-motivated charges in Los Angeles were all designed to pre-determine his guilt.

However, Mr. Weinstein's jurors have an obligation to themselves and their country, to base their verdict solely on the facts, testimony and evidence presented to them in the courtroom.

I expect a fair and impartial jury for Mr. Weinstein and every other American. I implore the members of this jury to do what they know is right and was expected of them from the moment they were called upon to serve their civic duty in a court of law.

The facts are the facts. Harvey Weinstein is innocent. His fate hangs in the balance, and the world is watching.

Donna Rotunno is Harvey Weinstein's lead defense attorney.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.