Officially, it was “The People of the State of New York vs. Harvey Weinstein.” But for all intents and purposes, it was over half the world’s population versus every powerful man who ever psychologically manipulated or physically attacked and sexually assaulted a woman within his sphere of influence.
‘When you hear this, you will cringe’
Feb 25, 2020 |
Fox News – Longtime legal analyst and former prosecutor Nancy Grace blamed the Hollywood community Monday for protecting disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein after he was found guilty by a Manhattan jury of rape and sexual assault.
Weinstein, 67, was convicted of first-degree commission of a criminal sexual act and third-degree rape but was acquitted of two more serious charges of predatory sexual assault, as well as first-degree rape.
The charges Weinstein was convicted of carry a total sentence of up to 29 years in prison.
The Miramax co-founder’s attorneys said late Monday that Weinstein had experienced “heart palpitations and high blood pressure” while en route to Rikers Island. Multiple reports indicated he had been transferred to Bellevue Hospital.
“The kid-glove treatment has already started,” Grace said. “You know where Weinstein is right now? He’s not on his way to jail but on his way to the hospital. He’s already whining, having chest pains. You wonder, do those women have chest pains after he raped them?”
Grace noted that Weinstein still faces charges in Los Angeles, where authorities allege he raped one woman and sexually assaulted another on back-to-back nights during Oscars week in 2013.
“When you hear this, you will cringe,” Grace warned. “In one of those [Los Angeles] cases, the woman tried to show him — according to her — pictures of her children, her family, begging him to stop, but he didn’t. And now, he will be tried for that as well out there.” Read more.
Weinstein conviction: “just a drop in a wave of justice to come.”
Feb 25, 2020
CNN – Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of two felony sex crimesMonday at his trial in New York.
While on his way to jail, Weinstein was taken to a hospital after feeling chest pains and having heart palpitations.
A jury convicted the disgraced Hollywood producer – whose alleged abusive behavior brought the #MeToo movement into the mainstream – of criminal sexual act and rape based on the accounts of two women.
He was acquitted of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and rape in the first degree.
The verdict is being hailed as a critical turning point for the #MeToo movement — his accusers called it “just a drop in a wave of justice to come.”
The movie mogul faces at least five years and up to more than two decades in prison and is set to be sentenced March 11.
He also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents in Los Angeles. Source.
Weinstein case could shape future sex crime prosecutions
Feb 25, 2020
NEW YORK (AP) — New York prosecutors are hailing Harvey Weinstein’s conviction as a pivotal moment that could change the way the legal system views a type of sexual assault case historically considered difficult to prove.
Most of the women who testified against Weinstein stayed in contact with him — and sometimes had consensual sexual encounters with him — after alleged attacks. None promptly reported his crimes. There was little physical evidence to bolster their stories.
The jury convicted anyway, finding the producer guilty of raping one woman in 2013 and sexually assaulting another in 2006.
“Rape is rape whether the survivor reports within an hour, within a year or perhaps never.”
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said after the verdict was announced:
“This is a new day. Rape is rape whether the survivor reports within an hour, within a year or perhaps never. It’s rape despite the complicated dynamics of power and consent after an assault. It’s rape even if there is no physical evidence.”
But some women’s advocates cautioned that it’s too soon to know how much the legal landscape has shifted.
Sonia Ossorio, the president of the National Organization for Women’s New York chapter, who sat through most of the trial, said:
“This is not a signal that our systems and institutions are magically transformed. This is one case, one man. We’ve got to keep it in perspective.”
If any case seemed to encapsulate the #MeToo reckoning with sexual misconduct, gender dynamics and power as a form of coercion, it was Weinstein’s.
Dozens of women who crossed paths with Weinstein through the entertainment industry have said he bullied, pressured, coerced or overpowered them while demanding sexual favors.
The alleged encounters took place over many decades, amid movie screenings in Los Angeles, film festivals in Cannes, and business meetings in New York or London.
The New York case involved only six accusers: three directly linked to the charges and three whose testimony was meant to bolster the prosecution case.
Weinstein’s defense team argued that the encounters were consensual, if perhaps “transactional”: He wanted sex, they wanted access to his power over the film world.
“This case challenges our notions of what is force in a sexual relationship … “
While the law recognizes that people can be assaulted by intimate partners in ongoing relationships, those cases have rarely been prosecuted in the past, because they’re difficult to prove, several trial lawyers said.
The tide is starting to change, however, as prosecutors take more risks and juries become more aware of the complexities of human behavior.
“This case challenges our notions of what is force in a sexual relationship, what is lack of consent in a sexual relationship,” said Paul DerOhannesian, an Albany, New York, defense lawyer, former sex crimes prosecutor and author of a guide to sexual assault trials.
He followed the trial coverage and found it telling that one of the first questions from the jury involved the legal definition of “consent” and “forcible compulsion.”
Vance initially declined to prosecute Weinstein when a model claimed he’d groped her in 2015. Facing criticism of the 2015 decision after waves of additional women came forward two years later, Vance ultimately took some of their allegations to trial.
One of the first witnesses at trial was an expert on victim behavior, who testified that it isn’t unusual for sexual assault victims to continue communicating with their attackers. A decade ago, that type of expert testimony was rarely allowed.
The jury ultimately acquitted Weinstein of two of the most serious counts: one of first-degree rape, and a second charge that he was a sexual predator, linked to the testimony of actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein barged into her apartment and raped her in the early 1990s.
But Weinstein, 67, still faces the possibility of up to 29 years in prison. He’s also facing separate charges in Los Angeles involving two more alleged sexual assault victims.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes unless they grant permission, as Sciorra did.
Criminal defense attorney Richard Kaplan said the New York case could both empower women to come forward and embolden prosecutors to take on tough cases.
“Now there is a roadmap on how you can win this kind of case,” he said, predicting more people would come forward.
“There’s always the fear of coming forward, you know, going through a trial, getting beat up and humiliated and then not getting that verdict. Now that they see it can be done, I think more people will come forward and definitely empower the movement.”
Lawyer Carrie Goldberg represents Weinstein accuser Lucia Evans, whose complaint against him was initially part of the indictment, but Vance’s office ultimately dropped her allegations from the case. While Goldberg faults Vance for not sticking with her client, she said the conviction is a “watershed moment” — and a long time coming.
“I hope that prosecutors, all over this country, and all over the world, look at this case and realize that rape trials can be won,” Goldberg said, “and that these aren’t just ‘he said, she said’ stories, but they’re actually crimes that are winnable and need to be brought.”
“The Most Recognizable Accused Sexual Predator In The Nation”
Inside the Harvey Weinstein trial: Reporter’s notebook
The trial was filled with the makings of a Hollywood blockbuster
February 25, 2020
ABC NEWS – The People of the State of New York vs. Harvey Weinstein has been an epic production that ran nearly seven weeks — underwritten by the state, cast by Manhattan prosecutors and starring perhaps the most recognizable accused sexual predator in the nation.
The trial has delivered all of the drama, suspense, bombshell plot twists, comic relief and cinematic sweep of a Hollywood blockbuster – mixed with the noir-ish darkness of disturbing allegations of violent degradation and depravity said to be lurking just beneath the surface.
Each day began around 4 a.m. as reporters lined up outside the sprawling criminal courts complex at 100 Centre St. in lower Manhattan.
After sunrise, the line started to creep forward in sections on the half-hour, like an army advancing in slow motion. Reporters passed through security at 8 a.m. and ascend to the 15th floor courthouse hallway to line up again inside aluminum pens lining the narrow courthouse hallway.
About 9:15 a.m., Weinstein rolled in on his wheeled walker flanked by a cadre of defense attorneys.
Fifteen minutes later, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke appeared on the bench and began most mornings settling a variety of roiling disputes between the opposing counsel, ranging from serious accusations of misconduct to brief, noisy displays of mutual pique over perceived personal slights.
Another peculiar mainstay of Weinstein trial coverage was this: daily and without fail, a chorus of piercing sirens rose up from the streets below, ricochet off three walls that form the pre-war courthouse’s towering entrance, and came screaming in through the open windows of the courtroom.
The sound was so overwhelming that it regularly interrupted testimony, and multiple court microphones proved no match. At times, testimony simply halted for lengthy stretches until the noise subsided.
Inside the old courtroom, the temperature pinballed between two extremes: so cold that rows of reporters donned scarfs, ski hats and winter coats, or so hot … Read more.
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