#MeToo prosecutors deploy experts early to thwart defense

#MeToo prosecutors deploy experts early to thwart defense

Harvey Weinstein leaves a Manhattan courthouse after a second day of jury selection for his trial on rape and sexual assault charges, Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) When his trial opens in the coming days, Harvey Weinstein’s defense team is expected to go on the offensive against the women who have accused him of rape and sexual assault, in part by questioning if they acted like victims afterward.

New York City prosecutors intend to counter with a strategy that’s taken hold since the 2018 retrial of comedian Bill Cosby: calling a sex crimes expert as a witness to dispel assumptions about how rape and sexual assault victims behave after an attack.

In fact, Weinstein’s prosecutors are using the very same expert, Dr. Barbara Ziv. She was the first prosecution witness at Cosby’s retrial and is expected to testify early in Weinstein’s trial this month.

Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who has spent decades working with sex offenders and victims, is likely to be an important potential bulwark against Weinstein’s defense that he had consensual relationships with the two women at the center of the case.

One of the women, who accuses Weinstein of raping her in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, sent him warm emails in the months after the alleged assault.

“Miss you big guy,” said one note.

“There is no one else I would enjoy catching up with that understands me quite like you,” said another.There was similar evidence at Cosby’s trial that he had remained in contact […]

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