The jury in the New York rape trial of Harvey Weinstein heard about him hiring Israeli private investigation firm Black Cube to squash the New York Times article that broke sexual assault allegations against him and launched the #MeToo movement.
Dev Sen, a lawyer at the firm Boies Schiller Flexner told the court that his firm was the connection between the Oscar-winning producer and Black Cube. The Israeli firm is staffed by former members of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
The jury was not provided with details about the nature of the contract Boies Schiller and Weinstein signed, but key details of it were discussed out of earshot of jurors, The Guardian reports.
Certain elements were shared. One said that the firm was hired to “provide intelligence which will help the client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper”.
Jurors also learned that Black Cube would be given a $300K bonus if they succeeded in stopping publication.
Agency investigators also reportedly adopted false identities to get information on some of Weinstein’s accusers, including Rose McGowan and Annabella Sciorra.
The prosecution also called multiple secondary witnesses to the stand to corroborate previous testimony by Weinstein accusers. One witness recounted his ex-girlfriend’s distress after an encounter with Weinstein. Lincoln Davies, who dated accuser Dawn Dunning, recalled her demeanor after a meeting with Weinstein in 2004: “She was pretty shocked, upset, angry, and overall appalled, I would say. There was an arc of emotion, like anger and stuff like that … She ended up crying.”
But she never told him about the assault, Davies added.
Another witness, Maurizio Ferrigno, seemed less certain of an alleged incident between another accuser, Tarale Wulff, and Weinstein. Wulff previously testified that Weinstein took her upstairs at Cipriani Soho and masturbated in front of her.
He said he remembered seeing them in “conversation” but didn’t remember anything else.
Weinstein is charged with five sex crimes, including rape and assault. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Today (Friday), prosecutors are expected to call Jessica Mann to the stand. The former actress is one of the two women whose allegations form the basis of the criminal case.