The Criminal Trial of Harvey Weinstein

Story by Katie Lennon, Arts and Culture Editor

Harvey Weinstein, a film producer that is well-known for movies such as “Kill Bill: Volume 1” and “Inglorious Bastards”, is now also well known for the rape-allegations against him. Weinstein was first accused of sexual harassment in October of 2017. Since then, over 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. These allegations helped add exposure to the #MeToo movement in 2006. Although these allegations came out more than two years ago, Weinstein attended his first criminal trial on January 6th.

Weinstein was seen entering the trial using a walker, due to his recent spinal surgery which removed a trio of bone plates compressing his vertebrae. When doing interviews before his court appearance, Weinstein admitted that the only reason he agreed to do the interviews was to prove that he was not exaggerating about his injury. During these interviews, Weinstein also explains how he “pioneered” movies about women and movies directed by women, because he was the first to do it over 30 years ago.

“I disagree with what Mr. Weinstein said. His claim that he did women a favor by letting them direct movies and star in them only showcases how out of touch he is with gender issues and only further explains how he felt so justified in violating so many women,” said junior Allison Fleming. “He didn’t pioneer women in film and make it mainstream. Women did that by fighting for it.”

The trial just started and is predicted to end in early March, with the opening arguments starting January 22. He is charged with five accounts of predatory sexual assault, criminal sex act and rape. He faces up to life in prison if convicted. The women accusing Weinstein of rape in March 2013 at the Midtown hotel remains anonymous. Mimi Haleyi, Weinstein’s former assistant, is accusing Weinstein of forced sexual behavior in 2006. 

Lucia Evans was one of the first people to speak out about Weinstein’s abuse. However, her allegations were dropped from the case after she spoke about Weinstein to a jury, accusing him on six accounts. Later that day, the prosecutors spoke to the witness who told them that they heard Evans giving a contradictory account of the incident where she explained it was consensual. A draft email from Evans to her past fiancé was brought up where the story about Weinstein varied as well. As a result, Evans’s accusations were removed from the case.

The jury process will be difficult due to how much media attention this case has received. Finding people who have not heard about this case in the news who will be able to be impartial on their decision will be nearly impossible. During jury selection, the names of possible witnesses were called. Many were Weinsetins accusers, including Mimi Haleyi, but some were people who had no direct connection to the case. 

This case will be exhausting, but if it brings any of the women some bit of justice, it will be worth it. 

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