A prosecutor said on Friday that the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was “an abusive rapist” and “a predator” who used his power to manipulate and assault several women in the movie business, then stayed in touch with them to ensure their silence and compliance.
“He had a surefire insurance policy: The witnesses were standing in line to get into his universe,” Joan Illuzzi, an assistant district attorney, told the jury during her closing arguments at Mr. Weinstein’s rape trial.
“The universe is run by me,” she added, adopting Mr. Weinstein’s point of view, “therefore they don’t get to complain when the universe is run by me.”
Ms. Illuzzi’s summation of Mr. Weinstein’s tactic — “trick and surprise,” she called it — was a dramatic finale to the trial in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, which has emerged as a watershed moment for the #MeToo movement.
In her presentation, Ms. Illuzzi returned repeatedly to the difference in power between Mr. Weinstein — “a giant” in the film industry — and his accusers, who worked as cocktail waitresses or models and were trying to break into the movies.
“It is a complete dichotomy,” she said. “Here is the defendant with everything using and abusing people he knows have nothing.”
Mr. Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to five felony charges in the case — including rape, criminal sexual assault and predatory sexual assault — which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Six women testified at trial that he had sexually assaulted them, though he faces charges in connection with only two of them. The others were allowed to testify to establish a pattern of behavior.
On Thursday, his lawyers made their own closing pitch to the jury, claiming that he himself had been the victim of an “overzealous prosecution” and that the six women who took the stand to accuse him of assault and other crimes were not passive victims, but active participants in ongoing and often transactional relationships.
Standing before the jury on Friday, Ms. Illuzzi sought to counter that narrative, arguing that Mr. Weinstein purposefully maintained ties with his victims to keep them under his control.
“He made sure he had contact with the people he was worried about,” Ms. Illuzzi said, adding, “That’s the mark of a predator.”
The indictment rests on the accusations of two women: Miriam Haley, a former reality television show production assistant who testified that Mr. Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his TriBeCa apartment in 2006; and Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress from a small town in Washington State, who claimed he raped her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
Both women acknowledged during cross-examination that they not only had friendly interactions with Mr. Weinstein after their alleged attacks, but later had consensual sex with him.
Four other women also testified that Mr. Weinstein attacked them in various ways — among them, the actress Annabella Sciorra, best known for her role in “The Sopranos.” She testified last month that Mr. Weinstein pushed his way into her Gramercy Park apartment in the winter months of 1993 or 1994 then violently raped her even as she kicked and punched him.
Prosecutors are using her testimony to support the top charge of predatory sexual assault, which carries a possible life sentence.
The accusations of Ms. Sciorra and three other accusers were barred by the statute of limitations from being charged as separate crimes. Still, the presiding judge, Justice James M. Burke allowed them to take the stand to bolster the prosecution’s contention that Mr. Weinstein engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior over decades.
Ms. Illuzzi stood directly in front of the jury delivering closing remarks in a conversational style and the occasional lighthearted quips. She began her closing remarks with the prosecution’s strongest witness: Ms. Sciorra.
The prosecutor acknowledged Ms. Sciorra never reported the alleged rape to the police, but she did tell her friend and fellow actress, Rosie Perez, though in veiled terms.
Not reporting the assault left Ms. Sciorra, who soon began self-harming, a damaged woman and made her vulnerable to further abuse by Mr. Weinstein, the prosecutor said. “The defendant knew her now as a weak link, a weak mark he could get again,” Ms. Illuzzi said.
Mr. Weinstein sought to control Ms. Sciorra again in August 2017, Ms. Illuzzi said, as rumors began to swirl that journalists were going to expose his sexual misconduct. That month, Mr. Weinstein hired an Israeli intelligence firm, Black Cube, to investigate certain “red flags” like Ms. Sciorra, whom Mr. Weinstein believed were speaking to reporters.
Ms. Illuzzi focused the jury’s attention on an email dated Oct. 26, 2017. In it, Mr. Weinstein instructed a subordinate to handle questions from Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker about his relationship with Ms. Sciorra by saying, “We are going to say it was consensual or deny it.”
After reading the email to the jury, Ms. Illuzzi said, “I submit to you, that’s a confession.”
In the defense’s closing arguments on Thursday, Donna Rotunno, Mr. Weinstein’s lead lawyer, said several times that the accusers in the case had chosen to engage in consensual sex with him to advance their careers, and their decisions to visit Mr. Weinstein in hotels and at his apartment supported that argument.
On Friday, however, Ms. Illuzzi took direct issue with that position. “When an adult goes to another adult’s home, should they expect that they’re going to have to engage in sex?” she asked the jury.
Ms. Illuzzi was talking about Ms. Haley, who testified that when she visited Mr. Weinstein at his Manhattan loft, he pulled her into a bedroom, pushed her onto a bed, held her down and forcibly performed oral sex on her.
“This is a crime and a wanton disregard for other people,” Ms. Illuzzi said.
Toward the end of her statement, Ms. Illuzzi turned her attention toward Ms. Mann, the aspiring actress who earlier this month gave a complicated and emotional account of how Mr. Weinstein raped her during a long relationship that included some consensual sex.
Ms. Mann’s testimony was emblematic of the difficult questions that the jury will ultimately have to wrestle with when they begin their deliberations as early as Tuesday. Did the fact that some of the women benefited professionally from their association with Mr. Weinstein suggest their relationships with him were consensual and transactional? And does the fact some of his accusers also had consensual sex with him undermine their claim that he on other occasions sexually assaulted them?
Ms. Illuzzi addressed those questions head-on on Friday.
“The question is not whether or not Jessica made a bad decision,” Ms. Illuzzi told the jury. “The question is whether or not Jessica is lying about it. She’s telling you the truth. She’s the victim of rape.”
“She could have been writing him love notes every single day,” Ms. Illuzzi added. “She could have been married to him. It still wouldn’t make a difference. He wouldn’t be allowed to rape her.”