The Manhattan D.A.'s office has asked a judge to block Harvey Weinstein's defense team from calling on a psychologist to testify about false memories and the distinctly Orwellian-sounding phenomenon they refer to as "unwanted voluntary sex."
In a court filing made public on Wednesday, prosecutors responded to a series of motions made by Weinstein's legal team, including his request to call social psychologist Deborah Davis to testify about "the accuracy and reliability of memory in disputed sexual encounters," including "the formation of fully false memories for events that never happened." Specifically, Davis would testify about the "phenomenon of 'voluntary unwanted sex,' i.e., sex that is undesired, but that the person chooses to engage in."
In their response, prosecutors argued that Davis' theories have no scientific or legal basis and should not be allowed at trial. They also addressed the Weinstein team's claim that Davis would act as counterweight to the testimony of Barbara Ziv, MD, an expert called on by the prosecution who has also testified at the trial of Bill Cosby about how sexual assault survivors respond to trauma.
"In contrast to Dr. Ziv, a practicing psychiatrist who has evaluated, assessed, and/or treated over 1,000 victims of sexual assault," reads the prosecution's response, "Dr. Davis has a doctoral degree in social psychology, and no showing has been made that she has ever even interviewed, let alone treated, a single individual who is or claims to be the victim of a sexual assault."
The former film producer's trial is expected to begin in January. He faces charges of rape and sexual assault, and could receive a life sentence if convicted.