The Case Against Harvey Weinstein, Explained

How soon will he go on trial? It is hard to predict, but it could be more than a year. For starters, a grand jury has yet to indict Mr. Weinstein. That must happen within six months.

.. Why didn’t Mr. Weinstein enter a plea in court on Friday? Mr. Weinstein hasn’t been indicted, so no plea is necessary. Defendants typically do not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty upon being arraigned

.. Will Mr. Weinstein testify? He does not have to and often, if the evidence appears especially strong, the defendant will opt not to take the witness stand. However, if there is one accuser — and it boils down to a “he-said, she-said,” debate — the defendant might choose to make the case a credibility contest and testify to deny the allegations.

.. Who is his lawyer? Benjamin Brafman, a former Manhattan prosecutor, is Mr. Weinstein’s current criminal lawyer. Regarded as one of the sharpest trial lawyers in the city, he has successfully defended a who’s who of influential people, including Sean Combs, the rap star, against gun possession and bribery charges in 2001. In 2011, he fended off a sexual assault allegation made against Dominique Strauss-Kahn

.. Mr. Weinstein has been represented in the past by Elkan Abramowitz, a partner at the law firm Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, who took up his case in connection with accusations, in 2015, that he had sexually assaulted an Italian model, Ambra Battilana, in Manhattan.

Harvey Weinstein’s Arrest May Define Manhattan D.A.’s Legacy

He made a name as the scourge of men who traffic in underage prostitutes and reduced the national backlog of untested rape-evidence kits. But he also faced withering criticism for dropping the prosecution of a French politician on sexual assault charges in 2011 and steadily mounting outrage over his decision in 2015 that there was a lack of sufficient evidence to make a case against Mr. Weinstein, the movie producer.

.. Sexual assault cases are notoriously challenging to prove in court

.. Mr. Vance’s office will face a long legal battle against a wealthy defendant and one of the city’s best defense lawyers, who will spare no effort to portray Mr. Weinstein as someone who behaved badly but did not break the law

.. The prosecution will have to prove Mr. Weinstein used physical force or threats of harm to get what he wanted, a high bar in cases with little or no physical evidence.

.. prosecutors have said the attack occurred in Manhattan more than five years ago — a gap in time that creates an additional hurdle for prosecutors.

.. there was grumbling among advocates for rape victims about his office’s grueling questioning of women raped by acquaintances before an arrest was made.

.. Several critics, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing prosecutors, said the questioning of rape victims in Manhattan was unnecessarily harsh.

.. Former members of the sex crimes unit said it is standard procedure to rigorously vet a victim’s credibility to avoid surprises at trial. “You better know everything that might come out,” one said. “It’s not personal.”
.. the police closed proportionately fewer rape cases in Manhattan than other boroughs, but prosecutors had a high conviction rate.
.. Mr. Weinstein had hired Elkan Abramowitz, a friend and campaign donor to Mr. Vance, to represent him and had paid for private investigators to dig up information about her statements in the Italian case.
.. Some critics in the Police Department said Mr. Vance had become gunshy of taking on powerful men after being forced to drop a sexual-assault charge in 2011 against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund
.. the Weinstein case fed an impression that Mr. Vance’s office gave the wealthy preferential treatment.
.. Public defenders pointed out poor defendants are often arrested and charged with forcible touching on nothing more than a woman’s complaint. “They are prosecuting our black and brown clients on sex crimes with far less,” said Justine M. Luongo
.. Advocates for rape victims have met repeatedly with Mr. Vance and his top lieutenants, demanding that Ms. Bashford and her assistants adopt more modern, less confrontational interview techniques for sexual assault victims, which take into account that trauma often scrambles memories.
They also urged prosecutors to employ more expert witnesses to explain why women sometimes do not fight with their attackers or report rapes right away.
.. Mr. Vance and his team hope more women will come forward now that Mr. Weinstein has been arrested. Some of the older cases in which he cannot be charged may yet come into play too, as evidence of a pattern of behavior.

“Sexual predators are now on notice: No one is too rich or too powerful to fall,” said Susan Ossorio, the president of National Organization for Women-New York City. “What’s happening now is bigger than this case. Harvey Weinstein’s arrest really represents an era of new accountability.”

Grifters Gone Wild

As Maria Konnikova wrote in her book, “The Confidence Game,” “The whirlwind advance of technology heralds a new golden age of the grift. Cons thrive in times of transition and fast change” when we are losing the old ways and open to the unexpected.

We are easy marks for faux Nigerian princes now, when chaos rules, the American identity wobbles, and technology is transforming our lives in awe-inspiring and awful ways.

Trump voters allowed themselves to believe they had a successful billionaire who knew the art of the deal when he only knew the art of the con. They bought his seductive campaign narrative, that the system was rigged and corrupt and only he could fix it. After winning by warning voters they were being suckered, he’s made them all suckers.

.. Those who ignored whispers about Weinstein’s grotesque behavior burned to believe that Hollywood was more than juvenile comic-book movies, that it could still make classy, sophisticated films with great roles for mature actresses like Meryl Streep and Judi Dench. And despite tales of misogyny and sickening transgressions, they wanted to buy Harvey’s grand narrative, that he was a liberal feminist who could raise enough money to help elect the first woman president.

.. With Holmes, people were longing for a young woman to break into the club of boy geniuses conjuring unicorns

.. She played to that, imitating Steve Jobs by wearing a black turtleneck

.. She pitched a Jobs-like mythic story about her company, that it was not merely about making money, it was designed to be “the most important thing humanity has ever built.”

.. High-minded elites like to scornfully say that Trump voters fell for his scam because they were ignorant and racist. But the high-minded elites fell for Holmes’s scam, even the fake deep authoritative voice she put on. Her board had George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, Jim Mattis and David Boies; Rupert Murdoch and Robert Kraft were investors.

.. Jaron Lanier, the scientist and musician known as the father of virtual reality, has a new book out, “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.” He says that the business plans of Facebook and Google have served to “elevate the role of the con artist to be central in society.”

The Rush of Seeing Harvey Weinstein’s Perp Walk

One day in March of 2015, Weinstein invited the model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez to his office for a morning meeting

.. To see Weinstein turn himself in on Friday at the same precinct where Gutierrez made her report, in the same neighborhood where he caused so many women anguish and pain, was simply cathartic.

.. For all the handwringing about the mob power of #MeToo, the fact is that most men who have assaulted women will not face criminal charges for doing so.

.. Weinstein had spent time hiding out in Arizona.

.. the news elicited a response similar to the “galvanizing shock” produced in April, when Bill Cosby was found guilty of three counts of sexual assault.

.. is mouth alternated between a grimace and a smirk.

.. Entering the precinct, Weinstein was a spectacle of smugness, as if trying to project the posture of an intellectual dissident.

.. In his hands were three books, two of which have been identified. They were corny totems suggesting, respectively, artistic revolution and false persecution: Todd Purdum’s “Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution,” and Richard Schickel’s biography of Elia Kazan, the Hollywood director who famously “named names” to the House Un-American Activities Committee, in 1952.

.. After he turned himself in, Weinstein was made to do a perp walk, the queasy practice meant to emasculate the suspect and flex the prosecutor’s power.

It is a public humiliation, a feast for the kinds of New York tabloids that Weinstein himself once manipulated so ruthlessly.

.. The books he walked in with had vanished. With his head hung low, Weinstein looked small, insignificant.

.. In the Manhattan Supreme Court, prosecutors charged him with two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act.

.. He surrendered his passport and was released on bail

.. “Will the sight of Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs encourage more women to come forward/press charges?”