After surrendering to police for rape, criminal sex act, and other sex charges, disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein was released on $1 million bail, CBC reported today.
“You sorry, Harvey?” the media shouted as Weinstein walked into the courthouse earlier today. According to a statement issued by Manhattan District Attorney’s office, the famous movie producer was charged with felony sex crime charges; rape in the first and third degrees, criminal sexual act in the first degree for forcible sexual acts against two women.
According to a law enforcement official, the criminal sex act charge stems from a 2004 encounter between Weinstein and Lucia Evans. Lucia, at the time an up-and-coming actress, said the producer forced her to perform oral sex on him. This occurred in Weinstein’s New York office in 2004. Evans, who said she repeatedly told the Hollywood mogul to stop, was a Middlebury College student at the time.
The rape charge relates to a woman whose identity remains unknown.
Weinstein agreed to post the cash bail, CBC noted, surrender his passport, wear an electronic monitor, and not travel beyond the states of Connecticut and New York.
Weinstein, who has not entered a plea, has consistently denied any allegations of non-consensual sex. The Hollywood producer left the Manhattan courthouse through a back door, but his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, spoke to the media.
Brafman said that his client will enter a plea of not guilty, asserting that they hope the court will move quickly to dismiss the charges brought against him. He referred to the charges as “constitutionally flawed.” Brafman, he said, believes his client will be exonerated.
The women who have brought up the charges against the Hollywood mogul will, the attorney said, be subjected to cross-examination, assuming the case goes that far. Brafman said the charges will not be believed by the jury, and that the case has been “overtaken” by the #MeToo movement — the international movement against sexual harassment and assault.
No one gets convicted “based on accusations,” Weinstein’s lawyer concluded, adding that his client has not intentionally violated the law.
Below is the full transcript of Benjamin Brafman’s remarks to the media.
“Mr. Weinstein will enter a plea of not guilty. 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, and we believe that, by the end of the process, Mr. Weinstein will be exonerated.
Someone inside asked me how Mr. Weinstein feels this morning, and my response was; ‘As well as can be expected when you’re accused of a crime that you vehemently deny having committed.’
Today is the first step, we knew that Mr. Weinstein was under investigation for more than seven months. He voluntarily surrendered this morning, and we have met all of the bail conditions by agreement, so that we would not have extended court proceedings.
Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that any sexual activity he engaged in was consensual. He has vehemently denied any allegations which suggest he engaged in non-consensual sexual activity. Many of these allegations are long and overdue, quite frankly, having been made about events that are alleged to have occurred many years ago. They were not reported to the police at the time these events occurred and I anticipate that the women who have made these allegations, when subjected to cross-examination – in the event we even get that far – that the charges will not be believed by 12 people, assuming we get 12 fair people, who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.
People don’t get convicted based on accusations. People get convicted only when there is credible evidence, beyond a reasonable doubt, and in this case, I do not believe that the District Attorney has that, nor do I believe that Mr. Weinstein has intentionally violated the law.”
A personification of the #MeToo movement, the Harvey Weinstein saga has, since its very beginning, been rife with controversy. In December 2017, a team of New York Times reporters wrote an extensive piece, detailing Weinstein’s “complicity machine” — the Hollywood producer’s web of” silencers, spies, and enablers,” as the NYT put it.
According to the Times, what can be considered methodical abuse of women, was a carefully and meticulously designed apparatus, which included journalist, talent agencies, and influence peddling.
Influential in the entertainment business, Weinstein has managed to propel and further spread his sphere of influence, reaching the very top of the American political establishment. The same NYT report detailed how the actress and ardent Hillary Clinton supporter, Lena Dunham, cautioned the 2016 presidential candidate about Weinstein’s treatment of women.
Days after Mrs. Clinton’s election loss, Hillary and her husband Bill had dinner with Weinstein. The Clintons and Harvey planned a documentary TV show about Mrs. Clinton’s campaign. Considered to have lead one of the most progressive campaigns ever, Clinton said in a statement that she was “shocked and appalled by the revelations” about the Hollywood producer.
Another famous New York outlet, the New Yorker, also published a special report about Weinstein, describing his “army of spies.” The film producer hired private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose what he had done. The firms Weinstein hired include Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad with branches in London and Tel Aviv, and Kroll, a large corporate intelligence company.
In order to extract information from Rose McGowan, who eventually publicly accused Weinstein of rape, two ex-Mossad agents hired by Weinstein met with the actress. One of them pretended to be a women’s rights advocate. The same operatives later met with journalists, trying to find out which of Harvey’s victims planned on, or were, talking to the press.
According to documents obtained by the New Yorker, the primary goal of these investigations, which Weinstein had personally monitored, was to collect information and create psychological profiles of individuals that could threaten Weinstein’s status and career. Former employees from Weinstein’s film enterprises worked for the producer, placing intimidating calls to some of those who could jeopardize the Hollywood mogul.
The #MeToo movement, propelled by celebrities and the public alike has, according to a Washington Post analysis, metamorphosed into a full-blown pop-cultural phenomenon of sorts, having an unprecedentedly viral effect.
The movement’s original case, the case #MeToo has, arguably, blossomed out of, is now reaching its epilogue. Harvey Weinstein, once known for producing some of Hollywood’s greatest cinematic achievements, is now, after having posted bail, combating charges that carry the potential sentence of up to 25 years in prison.