A psychologist called by Harvey Weinstein’s defense team told his rape trial Friday that memories of an incident can become “contaminated” over time by new information.
Elizabeth Loftus – a University of California, Irvine professor – said leading questioning about an event sometimes causes a “misinformation effect,” where false details are incorporated into someone’s memory.
“If you are urged to remember more, in trying to produce more to satisfy that situation, you may produce something like a guess and then it starts to feel like a memory,” she testified.
Since testimony began on January 22, six women have taken the stand to say they were sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
All of the allegations against the former Hollywood titan are at least six years old, while one of them dates back three decades.
Weinstein, 67, faces life imprisonment if convicted of predatory sexual assault charges related to ex-actress Jessica Mann and former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.
Mann says Weinstein raped her in March 2013 while Haleyi alleges he forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006.
The defense maintains that the incidents were consensual and that Weinstein was in relationships with the accusers.
Mann admitted to the court that she had had “non-coerced” sexual contact with Weinstein, producer of “Pulp Fiction” and “Sin City” up to 2016.
Sexual assault allegations against Weinstein made headlines worldwide in October 2017, igniting the #MeToo movement.