What happened at the Harvey Weinstein trial?

I saw from the headlines that the Harvey Weinstein trial in New York is over (but he still has one or more to go in California?). I hadn’t followed the case because the judge said prior to the trial that Harvey was going to spend the rest of his life in prison (Vice); it was only a question of whether it would be for using his phone in the courtroom or something related to the transactional sex that we read about (and would a jury who got even a quick look at the obese elderly Harvey need convincing that sex in which he was participating was transactional?).

Given that the outcome was predetermined, was there anything new that came out?

Separately, back in 2017 I asked “Where can Harvey Weinstein go for a peaceful retirement?”. It turns out that Harvey might have accidentally escaped prosecution if he’d followed his political heart. From a September 2016 article:

Talk turned from Oscar voters to American voters as fervent democrat Weinstein, appearing in Switzerland for the European premiere of the Garth Davis directed drama, was asked if he’d move to Canada if Donald Trump were elected US president.

“I’ve known Hillary Clinton 20 years. The allegations about her being untrustworthy are not true,” he said.

“I don’t think anything she did [with email servers] was intentional. The Clinton Global Initiative has the highest rating of any charity in America, and probably as good as any charity in the world, and I’m proud I’m part of that too.

“It’s insane that she doesn’t have the trustworthiness and it’s the only thing keeping her from winning. I don’t want to move to Canada, but I certainly don’t want to see Donald Trump [win] with bigotry and racism.”

Weinstein, who has hosted Clinton fundraisers this year, continued: “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. This is not Mitt Romney or Robert Dole, or anybody you could afford to have as president.”

The Oscar season veteran didn’t mince his words when it came to Clinton’s opponent.

“Ronald Reagan ran the country and it survived. This is not George W. Bush. This is really serious. It’s somebody appealing to the worst in us.”

Mr. Weinstein, at least, seems to be living proof of the wisdom of fleeing the Trump Presidency (though perhaps it would be better to choose a country other than Canada, e.g., one without an extradition treaty with the U.S.).

8 thoughts on “What happened at the Harvey Weinstein trial?

  1. Both so-called rapes were followed by years of friendly messages and consensual sexual encounters. Other testimony was given from other women, but apparently the jury did not buy the sexual predator theory.

    I am assuming both so-called victims will soon be filing civil lawsuits. They are going to want some money for telling these stories.

  2. There are certainly some impressive features. The case was about events decades ago and the most recent alleged event was in 2013 (that I could find in news reports, which are generally vague). The evidence for the allegations consisted of accusers’ testimony (i.e. no forensic evidence, or so I assume since otherwise it would have been all over the headlines by now). The accusers made no contemporaneous reports to police (ditto). As Roger points out above, exculpatory evidence of continued friendly contact with the accused did not prevent conviction.

    That would seem to open vast new territory for more such cases. A “new landscape”, as the prosecutor put it. If the verdict holds up on appeal, what’s to stop any woman going through the list of the wealthier men she’s met in the last decade or two and getting one of them prosecuted for rape? In principle it could work for men too but I suspect they wouldn’t receive quite the same support.

    Something I’m curious about is how the jury decided to believe some testimony and not other. Since there was no forensic evidence and no third-party witness, what determined that accusation X was “true” and accusation Y wasn’t? I would love to know how they did it!

  3. Wonder if they did such a poor job at trial but convicted so he has an easy win on appeal. If he gets a draconian sentence expect him to win the appeal. Light sentence and they are trying to stuff it all back in the closet. His adult ‘victims’ all knew the deal they were making, no sympathy for actresses. Case is likely smoke, Weinstein as sacrificial lamb to take the heat of off Hollywood’s worse behavior all the pederasty. We’ll know if the case is being prosecuted for justice if Weinstein hangs his fat ass with a paper sheet while the cameras are malfunctioning and the guards are slacking.

  4. A forensic psychologist convinced the jury to convict him:


    The smartest thing the prosecution did was call Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychologist who testified to “rape myths” in Bill Cosby’s trial, to do the same here.

    Ziv told the jury that more often than not, victims don’t report or disclose right away. Most victims actually know their assailants, and they often don’t resist. When it’s over, they often try to recast the assault as an encounter gone wrong or a one-time exception.

    And very often, Ziv said, victims maintain a relationship with their rapist because “they can’t really believe that this happened to them. They’re hoping that this is just an aberration. You hear that all the time.”

    And Weinstein, in vacillating between predator and benefactor, played right into that destabilizing dynamic, one in which his targets could never be sure he was truly a bad guy.

  5. People need to really understand what an enormous precedent has been set here: if a forensic psychologist can convince a jury that someone is guilty, even with conflicting evidence, absence of hard forensic evidence, exculpatory statements by the “victims” themselves, a long time lag, and everything else *THEY ARE GUILTY*. Moving the goalposts in this way was what this trial was really all about. Chew on that for a while.

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