Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Fail to Get Sexual Assault Charges Dismissed
The case will go to pretrial in March.
It’s been over a year since New York Times investigative reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor published their exposé on Harvey Weinstein, setting the #MeToo Movement in motion. Since the allegations broke, many are wondering what (if any) consequences Weinstein will face. Weinstein’s lawyers have been working to dismiss the sexual assault charges, but today a judge denied their request in a pretrial hearing.
The disgraced mogul faces five felony charges, including predatory sexual assault and rape. His legal team has tried to get the charges dismissed on grounds of “police misconduct”. One felony charge has already been dropped, involving Lucia Evans, after inconsistencies in her story. Weinstein’s lawyers are also claiming that the prosecution has not included evidence, specifically correspondence between Weinstein and his accusers that they claim allude to a consensual relationship.
New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke issued a written response, stating “The People [of New York] generally enjoy wide discretion in presenting their case and are not required to present exculpatory or mitigating evidence in the Grand Jury. They are not obligated to search for evidence favorable to the defense or to present all evidence in their possession favorable to the accused. The Grand Jury is not an adversarial proceeding and the People do not have the same obligation of disclosure at the Grand Jury stage as they have at the trial stage.”
Gloria Allred, who represents one of the women in the case, said “This indictment was based on evidence and testimony before the grand jury. It was not based on the #MeToo movement. So, let’s be clear about that.” Joining her was a delegation of women from Time’s Up including actresses Amber Tamblyn, Marisa Tomei and Kathy Najimy. Time’s Up CEO Lisa Borders said “Together, we stand in solidarity with all survivors everywhere. Frankly, we are relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed in his efforts to avoid accountability for his actions, and we are very happy that none of the charges were dismissed.”
This morning we showed up in Criminal court to witness Harvey Weinstein and his case not be dismissed. It is a small victory. But there’s a long way to go. We’ll be there again on March 7th and look forward to seeing him prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. #TIMESUP pic.twitter.com/NDk5q9NMc6
— Amber Tamblyn (@ambertamblyn) December 20, 2018
While the Weinstein scandal kick-started the #MeToo Movement, there has been very little in the way of legal action against the alleged perpetrators. Of all the A-list men accused, only Bill Cosby has been convicted in a court of law for sexual abuse.
When the Weinstein case goes to trial, it will no doubt be a massive media spectacle. But there’s still a ways to go, as his lawyers continue to delay the proceedings. The pretrial in March will hopefully delineate a timeline for the highly anticipated trial.
(via CNN, image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
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