This Is the Toughest Question Facing Harvey Weinstein’s Jury

This Is the Toughest Question Facing Harvey Weinstein’s Jury

In 1990, after a young assistant at Miramax accused him of sexual assault, Mr. Weinstein acknowledged to John Schmidt, the company’s chief financial officer, that he had done “something terrible,” saying, “I don’t know what got into me. It won’t happen again,” Mr. Schmidt said. Mr. Weinstein has denied the exchange.

In 1998, the producer flew to London to pay settlements to two former Miramax assistants, Rowena Chiu and Zelda Perkins, to quiet allegations that he had assaulted Ms. Chiu. Mr. Weinstein agreed to therapy, a new company harassment policy and penalties for subsequent settlements for sexual misconduct.

As they gathered to sign the documents, Mr. Weinstein expressed remorse to the two women, according to notes taken by their lawyer and recently shared with The Times. “I truly apologize for the pain I’ve caused you,” he began, and then said: “Things confusing for me too. You may not believe that. Sometimes don’t know when it’s consensual. Trying to learn. Maybe I don’t recognize my power in these situations.”

“It’s good it happened because I’m happy to be aware of what I did,” he added, according to the newly revealed notes.

Mr. Weinstein, through his legal team, denied ever speaking those words, but Ms. Chiu and Ms. Perkins said they remembered the moment clearly.

“Harvey said 22 years ago he did not know when things were consensual,” Ms. Perkins said.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘Did you hear what he said?’” Ms. Chiu recalled. (Later, Ms. Chiu returned to Miramax, but she was based in Asia and did not see Mr. Weinstein.)

At the 1998 meeting, Mr. Weinstein’s team insisted on collecting the notes. So at Ms. Perkins’s request, her lawyer secretly phoned her secretary, read her Mr. Weinstein’s statement and asked her to make a record of it. Over the years, Ms. Chiu and Ms. Perkins feared it was lost, but recently, British regulators investigating the matter obtained the record from Simons Muirhead & Burton, the firm that represented the women.

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