False Memory Expert Testified For The Defence

A false memory expert testified for the defence on Friday 7 February. Dr Elizabeth Lofus, who wrote the book ‘Witness for the Defence’ testified about the malleability of memory and about how susceptible the human brain is to misremembering events, particularly as time passes.

Dr Loftus has testified, mainly for the defence, in many celebrity cases including O.J. Simpson, the Menendez Brothers, Ted Bundy, the Oklahoma City bomber and the Duke University lacrosse team.

Dr Loftus was directed that she could not talk specifics about the case but rather more generally as she has not assessed the victim’s in this case.

She told jurors “It doesn’t take a PhD to know that memory fades over time.”

Dr Loftus also admitted that although not an expert on the brain, that the brain was not a video recorder and that as memories fade over time people become more susceptible to “post-event information.”  This can include media reports that can distort what they remember. People can also distort their own memories with inferences and guesses about past events, she said.

False memories “can be experienced with a great deal of detail, a great deal of emotion, even though they’re false”, she said. “The emotion is not a guarantee you’re dealing with an authentic memory.”

Dr Loftus told jurors interactions with law enforcement “can lead people to want to produce details”.

“Some can be accurate, and some can be false and inaccurate,” she said.

When asked by prosecutor Joan Illuzi whether she was originally brought in as a consultant or witness she said she could not remember.

“Is that due to post-event information?” Joan Illuzzi quipped.

As Weinstein left court, with Rotunno looming tall in her high heels, and Weinstein twisted and hunched over the walker, a reporter called out ‘Mr Weinstein, how’s your memory on consent?’ He and Rotunno smiled and walked out of court.


My Two Cents: Memories do fade over time, but the victims who testified are clear about what happened. They say that they were sexually assaulted and raped by Harvey Weinstein.

That’s more than can be said for Dr Loftus or Donna Rotunno’s memory.

Rotunno was ordered by the Judge not to talk about the victim’s in the case at the start of the trial, and there she was on The New York Time’s podcast, The Daily, which dropped yesterday, Friday 7 February, calling the victims liars and that women should take responsibility and not put themselves in a position to be raped.

When asked by Megan Twoey as a final question if she had ever been sexually assaulted she said, “No because I would never put myself in that position.”

Just let that sink in.

Should we live in a basement and never leave? Is that your advice? And what about the men who rape? Any advice for them?

How does that play out in relation to children who have been sexually assaulted and raped? And women who have been violated? They all brought it upon themselves? They put themselves in that position? And what about the abusers who hide in plain sight, who are in positions of trust?

This is faulty and flawed logic. It’s victim blame, plain and simple. And it makes no sense.

Well, it only makes sense if you are single minded, determined, doggedly so, and desperate to win your case for your client, and at any cost.

This is the flipping of the script that I predicted. Harvey as the victim. Poor Harvey. Men as the victims. Poor men. And women? Well as women we must govern ourselves, she says, step up and take responsibility, she says.

That’s assuming that women have full responsibility and control over what men do and that no power imbalance or inequality exists?

Where is this parallel universe that Donna inhabits?

Meanwhile back in the real world, Joan Illuzi complained to Judge Burke and asked him to once again order the defence to cease and desist any discussion about the case in public.

Rotunno said it was taped “a long time ago” and she had no idea it was going to drop on February 7.

The New York Times confirmed that the podcast was recorded on January 28 and Rotunno was notified it would air on February 7.

Did you not sign a consent form, Donna? Or are you perhaps suffering from a false memory of your own? Or is it just a case of ‘determined to win at any cost-itus’?

For previous coverage click the link

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