A private investigator was called to testify on Friday afternoon during the Harvey Weinstein trial.
Sam Anson, an investigator for the company Guidepost Solutions, was called in as a witness by the state. Anson said he was approached directly by Weinstein to investigate people he believed were talking to journalists about his sexual conduct with women.
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Questioned by Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, the investigator said he received a call directly from Weinstein a few years ago and during that 20-minute call, Weinstein sounded “agitated,” “stressed” and “not happy.” Following that call, Anson said he had a conversation with an attorney for Weinstein, and also received an email directly from Weinstein regarding specific actions he wanted him to take.
Ultimately, Anson did not conduct the investigation. He said he was unaware if anyone else conducted the investigation.
Anson explained that he received an email from Weinstein with an attachment that was referred to as the “red flag list,” which was a document with names and information about those people. Weinstein typed in the email to Anson, “The red flags are the first to call.”
A copy of the email was shown to the jury and seen by reporters, including Variety, who were present in the courtroom.
Among the many names on the list and highlighted in red was actress Annabella Sciorra, who testified Thursday that Weinstein raped her. (Weinstein’s defense team says Sciorra’s story is not true, and Weinstein has always maintained that all of his sexual relationships were consensual.)
Asked by Illuzzi if Weinstein asked him to investigate certain people, Anson responded, “Yes.” Asked if the subject matter of the investigation was Weinstein’s sexual conduct toward women, Anson replied, “Generally, yes.”
Anson explained that Weinstein believed journalists were working on stories that “discussed his sexual conduct in a negative way,” which was the cause of Weinstein’s concern.
One of Weinstein’s attorneys, Arthur Aidala, said Weinstein had approached Anson to investigate because he believed people on the list were going to extort him. When Aidala questioned Anson, he said he had a clear recollection of Weinstein saying he was being extorted.
“He said he was worried someone would be extorting him,” Anson said on the stand.
“Was it Annabella?” Illuzzi asked. “No,” he replied.
“Did he say who it was?” Illuzzi followed up. “He did,” the investigator replied.
“Who?” Illuzzi asked. Anson responded, “A woman named Rose McGowan.”
Wrapping up the conversation, Illuzzi’s final question was, “When you spoke to Mr. Weinstein himself, was his concern that people were talking to journalists about his sexual conduct against women?” Anson replied, “Yes, among other things.”
Weinstein’s attorney noted that the “red flag list” was not just comprised of women — there were men, too. Illuzzi requested that the list be provided to the jury so they could see all of the names, but the judge denied that request.
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