Two years after allegations of rape and sexual abuse by Harvey Weinstein were published in the New Yorker and The New York Times, opening statements in his trial are about to begin. Hundreds of women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of many types of inappropriate sexual behavior, but the trial will focus on two of his accusers, with four others testifying to show the pattern in his behavior. Weinstein’s been charged with rape, “predatory sexual assault,” and many other charges by numerous women, but he continues to claim he’s innocent.
What’s Weinstein’s Defense?
Despicable as ever, Weinstein’s trying to avoid spending the rest of his life in prison by undermining the testimony of the victims accusing him of rape and unwanted sexual activity. His defense is planning to allege that the women should not be believed because they did not promptly report the incidents. The #MeToo movement makes it hard to get away with this as the professional toll that pressing charges could bring is a now well-known deterrent to reporting rape, abuse and harassment. His lawyers also plan to question the victim’s motives, implying that they brought charges against Weinstein for financial gain and attention. Weinstein’s defense then plans to blame the victims for willingly going to his hotel room or home, implying that they were “asking for it.” He’s claiming they knew what they were doing when they “chose” to have sexual relations with him in the hope of helping their career.
How #Me-Too’s Going To Sink Weinstein’s Defense
Weinstein’s defense probably would have gotten him to walk in the 1970’s. Too bad, so sad, for Weinstein that #Me-Too’s brought it to everybody’s attention that trading sex for professional advancement is now a big “no-no.” Good luck convincing the jury that it’s only really rape if it’s a gun wielding stranger. Here, the power in numbers will likely be what sends Weinstein to the slammer, as women feel more empowered to come forward with tales of sexual abuse and misconduct showing a pattern of misconduct that makes it much harder for alleged sexual predators to slither away unscathed.
Check out our most recent Radio Law Talk segment with updates on the Harvey Weinstein case: