Daniel R. Alonso discussed "When can trial lawyers take their case to the public? The Harvey Weinstein case and beyond" at a New York City Bar Association webcast
The Harvey Weinstein criminal case was notable as the culmination of the “#MeToo” movement’s quest to hold powerful men accountable for their criminal misconduct. Weinstein’s lead defense lawyer, Donna Rotunno, was an aggressive advocate on behalf of Weinstein, both in the courtroom and, particularly here, in the public eye.
This program examined Rule 3.6 of the Rules of Professional Conduct, the trial publicity rule, concentrating on the Weinstein case and other high profile cases. That rule restricts the kinds of extrajudicial statements lawyers involved in a case are allowed to make. In particular, the panel discussed its views about the rule’s applicability to a lawyer’s actions, and in particular on when a lawyer’s statements fit the “safe harbor” provision of Rule 3.6(d), allowing extrajudicial statements that lawyers believe are necessary to protect client’s from significant adverse publicity. The panel also covered the tension between Rule 3.6 and the Supreme Court’s decision in Gentile v. State Bar of Nevada, 501 U.S. 1030 (1991), as well as the role of trial judges in policing lawyers’ speech outside the courtroom.