5 Ways Harvey Weinstein’s Lawyers Plan to Fight the Accusations Against Him
The cases against Harvey Weinstein as well as also his former businesses have moved coming from the court of public opinion into two courts in brand new York City.
First, at State Supreme Court in Manhattan, prosecutors filed a motion last week arguing of which the rape as well as also sexual assault charges against Mr. Weinstein should not be dismissed.
The same afternoon, less than a quarter mile away, defense lawyers in Federal District Court challenged a lawsuit accusing Miramax as well as also the Weinstein Company — both of which have produced some of Hollywood’s biggest films — of covering up the actions of the disgraced movie mogul.
The sexual assault conviction of Bill Cosby, whose two-day sentencing can be set to begin Monday, was widely viewed as evidence of which juries are willing to give more weight to accusers’ voices from the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Still, prosecutors will have to prove Mr. Weinstein used physical force or threats of harm to get his way, which could be challenging with little or no physical evidence.
Here are some of the arguments defense lawyers are preparing to use.
Argument No. 1
The grand jury did not get evidence
Mr. Weinstein was indicted on charges of which he raped a woman at a Midtown Manhattan hotel in March 2013, as well as also of which he forced two some other women to engage in oral sex with him — one in 2004 as well as also the some other in 2006.
Last month, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, accused prosecutors of withholding evidence coming from the grand jury, namely dozens of emails between Mr. Weinstein as well as also a woman accusing him of rape.
Mr. Brafman said the emails — released in a motion last month — suggested the relationship was consensual as well as also continued long after the alleged incident. He has argued the charges should be dismissed.
Mr. Brafman said the pending indictment should be dismissed because “the grand jury presentation was deeply flawed.”
A prosecutor said in response of which the grand jury was provided “a full as well as also fair account” of the relationship between Mr. Weinstein as well as also his accuser before as well as also after the alleged attack.
“Defendant does not allege, because he cannot, of which any of the emails contain a denial of the charged rape,” the prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, wrote. “Rather, defendant claims of which, at most, the emails could suggest a state of mind inconsistent with what defendant feels should be of which of a rape victim.”
Argument No. 2
The relationships were consensual
Releasing the emails can be part of Mr. Weinstein’s strategy to discredit his accusers: He has previously released photographs as well as also letters to show of which the women maintained contact with him after the alleged assaults.
“This particular can be a daunting task to sway public opinion as to Weinstein,” said Evan Krutoy, a former Manhattan prosecutor who at This particular point focuses on internal sexual harassment investigations for companies.
nevertheless Mr. Krutoy added of which defense lawyers might wish of which challenging the grand jury proceedings “might be a step from the right direction.”
A judge, he said, “may not believe these emails affected the integrity of the grand jury process nevertheless This particular might cause some to revisit the merits of the case.”
Mr. Krutoy added of which Mr. Weinstein’s criminal defense team can be “aggressively pursuing every argument so, should there be a conviction, they have preserved all legitimate grounds for appeal.”
Argument No. 3
The companies didn’t hide anything
In Federal District Court, lawyers for Mr. Weinstein, Miramax, the Weinstein Company as well as also its board members are trying to dismiss a lawsuit filed by six women last year seeking class-action status.
The status would certainly enable the group to sue on behalf of the more than 80 women who have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual harassment as well as also assault.
The suit says the defendants operated like a criminal organization, as defined by the Racketeer Influenced as well as also Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as RICO, “to facilitate as well as also conceal his pattern of unwanted sexual conduct.”
from the courtroom on Sept. 12, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ordered the plaintiffs to amend their complaint to include specific details about the role of each defendant, as well as also to combine the complaint using a similar one filed by three some other women.
“You’re talking about conspiracy,” Judge Hellerstein said in court to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Elizabeth A. Fegan. “You’d have to prove of which each person knew as well as also made This particular his own, knew of This particular effort by Harvey Weinstein as well as also others he enlisted to silence the women as well as also participate in some action.”
The RICO Act requires plaintiffs to prove of which an “enterprise” engaged in a “pattern of racketeering activity” over an extended period.
Lawyers for the defendants said the women have not demonstrated of which their business or property was injured by any RICO violation, or provided evidence of witness tampering. They said the plaintiffs have failed to back allegations of sex trafficking because nothing of value was offered in exchange for sex.
nevertheless the women’s lawyer could argue of which the “explicit exchange was a job as well as also a Great movie for sex,” Judge Hellerstein said.
Argument No. 4
The events happened too long ago
Defense lawyers from the criminal case say the allegations are too old as well as also lack forensic evidence, like DNA.
The prosecutor, Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon, wrote of which the statute of limitations for rape from the third degree can be a few years coming from the date of the alleged crime.
Defense lawyers from the civil case also said the claims do not fall within the statute of limitations, which range coming from one to four years. These plaintiffs allege their assaults occurred before 2012, Ms. Fegan said.
However, Alafair S. Burke, a professor at Hofstra University School of Law, said the issue can be complicated.
“The statute of limitations can be four years, nevertheless the Supreme Court has not announced a final rule for determining when the clock starts to tick,” she said. “The conventional wisdom can be of which the measurement commences when the plaintiff has notice of injuries. nevertheless plaintiffs can argue of which the period can be tolled — the clock stopped, in some other words — based on further misconduct by the defendants or a conspiracy.”
Argument No. 5
There can be no evidence to support a class-action lawsuit
The defense from the civil suit says there can be not enough evidence for a class-action lawsuit because different circumstances surround the claims, such as the state as well as also the year the alleged assaults occurred.
Debbie Kaminer, a law professor at Baruch College, said of which some of the plaintiffs’ claims did not fall under the RICO Act as well as also of which allegations of witness tampering are “one of the weaker arguments.”
Still, Ms. Kaminer said, “This particular’s outrageous he got away with This particular for so long,” adding of which she believed there can be “enough of a community” for a class-action lawsuit.
Jan Ransom can be a reporter covering brand new York City. Before joining The Times in 2017, she covered law enforcement as well as also crime for The Boston Globe. She can be a native brand new Yorker. @Jan_Ransom