Harvey Weinstein has replaced a disgruntled lawyer with a woman who has railed against the #MeToo movement.

A court in New York yesterday allowed a fifth lawyer to leave the disgraced film mogul's ever-changing defence team as his rape and sexual assault trial looms.

Weinstein's previous attorney, Jose Baez, had written to the court: "Mr Weinstein has engaged in behaviour that makes this representation unreasonably difficult to carry out effectively."

Judge James Burke granted Mr Baez permission to quit the case and be replaced with two new lawyers, Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis.


Miss Rotunno, 42, has previously argued #MeToo, which saw millions of women share their experiences of abuse after allegations against Weinstein emerged in 2017, has done a disservice to women.

She has also claimed she can get away with more "venom" when cross-examining alleged victims due to her gender. Speaking about #MeToo in an interview with Chicago magazine, she said: "I'm not a woman who has ever subscribed to it. I believe women are responsible for the choices that they make."

Describing her gender as an asset, she said: "I have the ability to get away with a lot more in a courtroom cross-examining a female than a male lawyer does.

Donna Rotunno (centre) has previously argued that #MeToo has done a disservice to women. Photo / Getty Images
Donna Rotunno (centre) has previously argued that #MeToo has done a disservice to women. Photo / Getty Images

"He may be an excellent lawyer, but if he goes at that woman with the same venom that I do, he looks like a bully. If I do it, nobody even bats an eyelash. And it's been very effective.

"I'm not this advocate where men should be able to do whatever they want. But we are stepping on to a very large, very dangerous slippery slope when we say every allegation is considered rape."

Speaking yesterday outside Manhattan criminal court, Miss Rotunno disregarded questions over the high turnover in Weinstein's legal team.

"Just as if he were casting a movie, this is a circumstance where he has picked the right lawyers," she said.

Weinstein, 67, denies two counts of rape, one criminal sex act and two counts of predatory sexual assault for allegedly raping a woman in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006.


Judge Burke set the trial to begin on September 9.