New York (CNN)A Manhattan judge on Thursday approved -- for the second time -- a change to Harvey Weinstein's criminal defense team.
Harvey Weinstein's revolving door of attorneys share a similar defense strategy
Donna Rotunno and Damon Cheronis, both from Chicago, are taking on a client whose alleged sexual assaults sparked the #MeToo movement.
They replace high-profile defense attorney Jose Baez, who withdrew from the case after Weinstein engaged in behavior that made "representation unreasonably difficult," a source told CNN in June.
Following the hearing that made Weinstein's new representation official, Rotunno, a vocal critic of #MeToo, told reporters something the disgraced media mogul's previous attorneys have stated: any sexual contact between Weinstein and his accusers was consensual.
"Over the course of the next several weeks and as this trial progresses you will hear things about multiple conversations and emails had that will lead you to believe that the facts that have been reported up to this point are not the full story," she said, alluding to the team's defense strategy.
"It's going to be obvious that the relationships had with women in this case were quite consensual and we have a lot of documentation to back those things up."
The strategy isn't new. In 2018, Weinstein's then-attorney Benjamin Brafman, who famously represented former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn against sexual assault charges, filed a motion to dismiss all charges against Weinstein, citing "dozens of emails" sent from one of Weinstein's anonymous accusers, characterized as "extensive warm, complimentary and solicitous messages to Mr. Weinstein immediately following the now claimed event and over the next four year period."
Even with a similar defense strategy in tow, Rotunno says Weinstein's defense against rape and sex abuse charges by a female attorney helps.
"I think just as if he were casting a movie, this is a circumstance where he needed the right lawyers, and I think this type of case requires the right lawyers. I think a woman standing here could make a difference," she said outside the courtroom. "I think it creates a different atmosphere in terms of my ability to have a conversation with someone on the witness stand. I think it is more effective to have a woman asking a woman questions. I think I come across in a way that might not seem bullying or offensive in any way."
Last year, GOP members of the Senate Judiciary Committee employed sex crimes prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a woman who accused then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, to quell concerns about how it would look to have the all-male GOP committee members questioning Ford.
"I have the ability to get away with a lot more in a courtroom cross-examining a female than a male lawyer does," Rotunno said in a February 2018 Chicago Magazine interview.
"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."
Speaking to WGN radio in Chicago before her first official day representing Weinstein, Rotunno explained why she doesn't buy into the Me Too movement.
"The problem is I don't believe in movements in general. I think the problem with movements is they're devoid of logic and fact, and people play on their emotions when they jump into these movements for whatever reason and whatever type of movement it is without really looking at facts and circumstances," she said.