The case against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein began this Wednesday in New York, and the first bombshell has already emerged from the case. Prosecutor Meghan Haft held back no punches when beginning her case against the Shakespeare in Love producer and immediately claimed that one of the ways in which the alleged rapist would intimidate his victims was flaunting his relationship with powerful people — including the Clintons, according to a report from The Daily Mail.
“[He used] his power and prestige in the entertainment industry to ensure [accusers’] silence. Although they’re strangers to one another, they’ll each describe to you their shame and humiliation following their violent encounters with the defendant,” Haft opened, displaying a photograph of Weinstein with former President Bill Clinton to the courtroom.
Haft went on to claim that Weinstein’s friendship with Bill Clinton was one of the Good Will Hunting producer’s favorite topics, particularly when talking to his victims.
According to Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, several witnesses will testify that Weinstein would let his victims know “how close he was to Bill Clinton.” One accuser claimed that Weinstein spoke to the former president “every other day” and another added that the Silver Linings Playbook producer “took phone calls from Bill Clinton” when he was with her.
In the first questioning of the trial, Illuzzi examined former Weinstein Company board member Lance Maerov.
“Was Mr Weinstein particularly close with the Clintons?” she asked.
“Yes, he’d tell me (about them),” Maerov returned.
“He often referred to his close relationships with Presidents and former Presidents?” Illuzzi then asked in a follow-up question.
“Yes,” Maerov answered.
Meanwhile, Weinstein’s defense has hoped that the prosecution’s emphasis on the Clintons could convince the judge to rule a mistrial.
Defense lawyer Arthur Aidala claimed that showing a picture of Weinstein with Clinton was “completely inappropriate” and “tainted” the jury’s impartiality, as reported by USA Today.
“Clinton has nothing to do with this case. It’s 100 percent irrelevant,” he said.
Meanwhile, the courtroom drama comes just the day after Hillary Clinton defended taking Weinstein’s money during her 2016 campaign.
“How could we have known?” Hillary said, claiming ignorance of Weinstein’s alleged crimes in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr. In total, the English Patient producer raised $46,350 for the former secretary of state.
However, journalist Ronan Farrow has accused the Wellesley alum of pressuring him to drop his bombshell investigative report on the Hollywood titan.
Weinstein is charged with rape, criminal sex acts, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving two separate women. He is pleading not guilty.