Ahead of his criminal trial on sexual assault and rape charges, Harvey Weinstein says he doesn't get enough credit for promoting female filmmakers. In an exclusive interview with the New York Post, the disgraced former mogul also complains that his legacy in the movie business "got eviscerated" because of what happened, and he feels like "the forgotten man."
Weinstein spoke to the Post from the hospital on Friday, reportedly while recovering from spinal surgery. He said he agreed to the interview to prove his medical problems are legitimate, after he was met with widespread skepticism last week for appearing in court with a walker, reports CBSN's Vladimir Duthiers.
His attorney, Donna Rotunno, reprimanded anyone who doubted the 67-year-old's condition.
"Mr. Weinstein didn't want the press to think he was seeking sympathy," Rotunno said. "He is in pain. He is having surgery."
In that court appearance,, over concerns he'd tampered with a mandatory ankle monitor. And in his exclusive interview with the Post, Weinstein said the move was "to embarrass me."
It's one of his milder claims among a range of comments where the former Hollywood kingpin, who stands accused of rape, paints himself as a womens' advocate. "I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker," he said. "My work has been forgotten. I want this city to recognize who I was instead of what I've become."
The prosecution is going to say the comments are reflective of a state of mind of a man who is used to abusing his power, according to one expert. Stacy Schneider, a criminal defense attorney, said the interview is proof that Weinstein's "ego continues to be out of control."
"How relevant is it really that he promoted female careers?" Schneider asked. "Because the whole narrative of his criminal trial is his alleged abuse of women who were trying to pursue those careers in the first place."
Weinstein, who could face life in prison if convicted, denies the allegations against him. And in, his attorney said he'll be exonerated.
"Can I stand in front a jury and say, 'Harvey Weinstein is the greatest guy you've ever met?' No. I'm not going to do that," said Rotunno. "But he still did not commit rape, and the evidence does not prove that he did."
Ahead of Weinstein's criminal proceedings next month, his team has reportedly reached.
And in response to Weinstein's latest comments, a group of 23 women who've publicly accused him of sexual misconduct said, "We refuse to let this predator rewrite his legacy of abuse."