Much of what Weinstein said echoed comments he made in a December 2019 New York Post interview and in two letters he sent to industry colleagues in late 2017, as the allegations against him were first becoming public. He admitted behaving badly but again denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
He also touted his support for women and women’s stories in the film industry, as well as other good causes.
“There are so many people, thousands of people who could say great things about me,” Weinstein said.
His rambling delivery and the presence of his accusers in the hushed courtroom lent his 10-minute speech a surreal air. He directly addressed one accuser, Miriam Haley, as “Mimi”, saying he remembered fond letters that he thought meant they had “a serious friendship”.
His forced oral sex on Haley accounted for 20 years of his sentence.
“I wasn’t about power, I was about making great movies,” Weinstein said. “Other people cared less about movies and more about their children, families and friends.”
He said he still felt affection for Mann and Haley and expressed hope that “something of our old friendship” might survive. He suggested both women had been told what to say by their lawyers.
“I’m not going to say these aren’t great people,” Weinstein said of his accusers. “I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.”
At one point, defence lawyer Arthur Aidala jumped up in an attempt to stop Weinstein from speaking. After a whispered huddle with Aidala and lead defence lawyer Donna Rotunno, Weinstein pressed ahead.
Aidala tried to stop him a second time, but Weinstein brushed the lawyer off.
Lauren Young, another accuser who testified against Weinstein in the trial, was seen shaking her head and burying her head in her hands.