On Friday, Harvey Weinstein's defense team called Dr. Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist and memory expert to the stand, in an effort to discredit his accusers that are accusing him of predatory sexual assault, criminal sex act and rape. Weinstein has maintained that all of his sexual encounters were consensual.
Dr. Loftus, a professor at the University of California, Irvine testified:
"It doesn't take a PhD to know memory fades over time. As time is passing and as the memory is getting weaker and weaker, it becomes more vulnerable to post-event information. Five years is quite a long time where there would be significant memory decay."
Actress Annabella Sciorra, testified that Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s. When his defense attorney, Diana Fabi Samson asked Dr. Loftus about how someone might recall an event that happened 27 years ago, referring to Sciorra's allegation, Loftus said:
"That's an extraordinarily long period of time where there can be substantial fading of memory."
Loftus told jurors that sometimes people will have gaps in their memory about an incident, and that over time, they will fill in those gaps with information they see or read about in the news. She says, people can create 'false memories' surrounding a real-life event.
"You can make people believe that a perpetrator was wearing a brown jacket when it was really a green jacket. Here we are changing the details of an event that was actually experienced. You can go even further with people. You can plant entire events into the minds of orginary, otherwise healthy, people."
On cross examination, the prosecution pointed out that Loftus was being paid $600 an hour to testify and that she's almost always a witness for the defense, even writing a book called Witness for the Defense. When asked if any of the more than 20 books she had authored was called Witness for the Prosecution, Loftus replied, 'No.'
Loftus has testified in more than 300 trials since 1971, consulted with the FBI, CIA and has testified or consulted in other high profile cases like the Michael Jackson case, the OJ Simpson case and the Ted Bundy case.