by Graham Pierrepoint
Revelations surrounding the alleged sexual misconduct suffered by several women at the hands of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were inarguably responsible for the resurgence of the #MeToo hashtag and movement in late 2017. TIME Magazine referred to those blowing the whistle as their collective ‘Person of the Year’, and as a result, with more and more people coming out of the woodwork to make claims against Weinstein and other big name Hollywood personnel (actor Kevin Spacey amongst them), the producer’s career – and apparent years of abuse – came to a very public head. Since then, Weinstein has all but stayed out of the public eye following months of fact-finding and investigation, and this week, it seems that the law may have finally caught up with him.
▶ The Rise and Fall of Harvey Weinstein
It’s reported, however, that Weinstein turned himself into authorities following scores of allegations made against him – he has continually denied having engaged in anything other than consensual sexual acts, though the charges he currently faces under the NYPD amount to rape and a number of counts of sexual assault – pertaining, on at least this occasion, to his conduct with two specific accusers.
Weinstein has now been released, albeit with a tag and on a bail bond worth $1 million – and it seems likely that he will enter a not guilty plea, according to his attorney Ben Brafman. Despite claims from chief prosecutor Joan Illuzzi that Weinstein ‘used his position, money and power’ to ‘lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually’, Brafman is confident that the charges against his client will be fought head-on.
▶ Disgraced Movie Mogul Does The Perp Walk Before Being Charged With Sex Crimes
“We intend to move very quickly to dismiss these charges – we believe that they are constitutionally flawed. We believe that they are not factually supported by the evidence,” Brafman claims in relation to the charges. The identities of those complaining against Weinstein have not yet been made public – but they are the first criminal claims to be made and acted upon, with the disgraced mogul having already built up civil suits regarding his alleged actions.
It has not yet been made explicitly clear when the trial will exactly play out – but if the #MeToo build-up was anything to go by, it could be one of the most important and most-watched criminal trials of recent years – if not decades – with a great deal hinging upon the final outcome of the case.