Harvey Weinstein. I cannot imagine a bigger creep.
He was the reason for the “#MeToo” movement. If any good came out of that movement, it was the takedown of Harvey Weinstein. Everyone by now has heard of his “casting couch.” It was reported that in “old” Hollywood, women would have a hard time getting anywhere (much less getting any part) if they didn’t succumb to the predations of a creep with power.
“Old” Hollywood really never went away. Harvey Weinstein saw to that.
Almost two years ago, Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape in a New York Supreme Court. In New York, the trial court is called the Supreme Court. Weinstein was also found guilty of sexual assault of a second woman, and the trial judge sentenced him to 23 years in prison. In August 2022, New York’s highest court allowed his appeal to move forward after a Court of Appeals rejected his argument that he didn’t get a fair trial. His arguments included procedural errors and errors in the admission of evidence.
The high court could have rejected his appeal out of hand, which would have allowed his convictions to stand. But, in a later notice, it announced that it would hear his appeal. By allowing for review, the high court isn’t indicating that it will change the conviction. That opinion will be next year.
In any event, the trial in Los Angeles is likely the final chapter in the fall of Harvey Weinstein. Three women accused him of various sexual batteries – from the rape of two women to masturbating in front of an Italian actress. The most notable of the counts the jury could not reach a unanimous decision on was the rape allegation of Jennifer Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom.
She accused Weinstein of rape. The trial’s most dramatic moments were during her testimony. Some of the jury members did not believe her and did not believe one other woman. The jury reached unanimity on two counts for the same woman – who was known only as Jane Doe 1.
Because the allegations are several years old and there was no forensic evidence to back up the claims, the credibility of the witness/victims seems to have been the sole motivation for some (or one) jury member for refusing to convict on other charges. A mistrial was declared on those charges. As a trial lawyer, I can attest that witness testimony is critical and far more persuasive than static evidence, like documents. Apparently, Jane Doe 1 was persuasive. Weinstein was found guilty of raping her and forced oral copulation, and other lesser charges of sexual assault and battery.
In closing arguments, the prosecutor said:
“Who would suspect that such an entertainment industry titan would be a degenerate rapist?”
The defense countered by claiming that two of the women were lying he also claimed that one “encounter” was “100 percent consensual”.
Honestly, if I was on the jury, that line would make my skin crawl. Weinstein is a physically repugnant man. I cannot imagine any woman consenting to sex with that troll.
Defense counsel went on with his closing by saying “Regret is not the same thing as rape,” and accused the women of saying “‘Believe us because we’re mad, believe us because we cried.’”
The defense also added that “fury does not make fact, and tears do not make truth.”
Assuming that the high court in New York upholds his New York conviction, Harvey Weinstein is never walking out of prison. In any event with two convictions in two separate courts that fact is pretty much assured that the face of sexual predation will die in a prison cell or on a prison hospital bed, or if some would like at the hand of a fellow inmate.
From a personal standpoint, I hope he lives for another 20 years, eating prison food and wearing prison clothes rather than eating $1,000 meals and wearing designer clothes. His days of preying on women are over.
Sentencing will follow.
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