(Bloomberg) -- Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in Manhattan is still drawing more spectators than the handful of seats allotted to them. But as thousands of podcast consumers have discovered, there’s a way to hear the trial without standing in line.
“The Harvey Weinstein Trial: Unfiltered” is delivered to subscriber inboxes daily at 5 a.m., featuring actors re-creating crucial testimony from the day before. The use of cellphones, cameras and audio recorders is banned in the courtroom, but when Annabella Sciorra testified that Weinstein raped her, subscribers were able to hear her sharp exchanges with Weinstein’s lawyer, voiced by performers in Los Angeles off court transcripts.
The podcast’s producers have arrived as early as 4:30 a.m. to get seats in the New York state courtroom so they can follow the warring narratives in person and choose the testimony they want to excerpt.
“We’re trying to create a story arc every day,” said Phelim McAleer, who creates the podcast with his wife, Ann McElhinney, in a recent interview. It’s “the biggest trial of the century” and, for fans of true-crime podcasts, “the truest crime of them all.”
Weinstein maintains that any sexual encounters were consensual.
While podcasting may be a new format for trial reenactments, it has competition from traditional broadcasters. Court TV has been producing scenes from the trial with actors for its show. In pre-podcast days, E! broadcast “The Michael Jackson Trial” in 2005 with actors meant to look like the courtroom participants and, a decade earlier, “The O.J. Civil Trial.” More traditional Weinstein podcasts include “Catch and Kill” and segments of “The Daily.”
Read More: Trial Draws NYC Gawkers to Glimpse a #MeToo Reckoning
True crime as entertainment isn’t new for McElhinney and McAleer. The duo have done verbatim theater productions like “Ferguson,” which used grand jury testimony to tell the story of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb. Their play “FBI Lovebirds: UnderCovers” draws from the text messages between federal agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page about Donald Trump and Russia. Despite the Weinstein podcast’s subtitle, the trial is inevitably filtered through their selection of and commentary on the testimony.
When celebrities testify, the audience for the podcast can surge. It grew by 10,000 listeners between Jan. 23 and 24, the day Rosie Perez took the stand to back up her friend Sciorra, and recently exceeded 50,000, the producers said.
As many as 90 million Americans a month listen to podcasts, according to an estimate from Edison Research. A smash hit can draw millions of downloads.
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- ‘I Think I Was Raped’: Jury Hears Rosie Perez Back Up Sciorra
- Accuser Called Weinstein a ‘Soul Mate,’ Friend Testifies
- Defense Knocked White Women Off Panel, D.A. Argues
- Jessica Mann Is Grilled on Contact After Alleged Rape
- Weinstein’s Dream Jury Is Conservative, Traditional, Skeptical
- A #MeToo Moment Two Years in the Making
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