Longtime readers of this site will know we're fans of Don Giller, whose extensive video archive of David Letterman's 35+ year television career has racked up tens of millions of views on YouTube, and even a New York Times profile.
In October of 2017, Giller posted a clip from an interview Letterman had conducted with Gwyneth Paltrow in 1998, in which the actress described Weinstein as a "coercer," a term which took on a much more sinister tone twenty years later amid mounting accusations that the movie mogul had used his powerful position to sexually harass and assault multiple women (including, by her own account, Paltrow herself). Weinstein has vigorously denied the allegations.
The Paltrow clip was widely circulated on the web and credited to Giller, so when a process server working the Weinstein trial showed up unannounced at his door Wednesday night with a subpoena for video from his archive, Giller assumed it was coming from lawyers for the prosecution, and that they were looking for the Paltrow interview.
After speaking with the server, who then put one of the lead lawyers on speaker phone, Giller came to understand that the subpoena wasn't coming from the prosecution, but rather the defense, and that it wasn't the 1998 Paltrow interview they were after — it was an interview Letterman had conducted a year earlier, with actress Annabella Sciorra. Sciorra, who has alleged Weinstein raped her in 1993, and is one of several key witnesses in the state's case against Weinstein.
As Giller told the story on social media and in a post on his personal blog, "Yikes... that changed everything."
Still, told that if he failed to deliver the video he'd be held in contempt of court, he felt compelled to comply. So, he did. It was only later, while watching the clip that he came to a full understanding of why the defense wanted it.
In one portion of the interview (which can be viewed in its entirety below), Sciorra lightheartedly tells Letterman that she'd sometimes make up stories about herself when being interviewed. As Giller points out, there's a context for the comment, but clearly the defense was interested in using it to attack the actress's credibility.
Sure enough, after Sciorra took the stand Thursday to testify against Weinstein, the defense played the tape as part of their lengthy cross examination, asking if she was lying now. "Absolutely not," responded Sciorra.
The prosecution was quick to point out that the actress's comments on the show were intended to be comedic, a sentiment echoed to reporters by Gloria Allred, Sciorra's own attorney. "This is not a comedy show," Allred said outside the courtroom. "This is a criminal case involving allegations of rape, sexual assault, and sexually predatory conduct."
As for Giller, despite doing what he was legally compelled to do, he says that it will haunt him for a long time, adding "I hope Sciorra’s testimony prevails."
Jed Rosenzweig is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer. Follow him on Twitter @jedrosenzweig.