Harvey Weinstein tried to silence and blame victims. At trial it no longer worked

Disgraced creators old-style onrushes proved ineffective after casualties spoke in the landmark #MeToo trial

When the end came, there was no walking made to lean on for Harvey Weinstein. As he was produced away to deplete the first of what promises to be many lights in a jail cell, he had to hobble along unaided with his arms handcuffed before him.

For the seven long weeks of his contest, the disgraced movie mogul had begun every day trundling into law behind his loyal mark walker, with its incongruous fittings of two yellow-bellied tennis projectiles glued to its legs.

There was much speculation among court reporters about what it all meant- was this a classic cinematic stroke by the master producer of Pulp Fiction and The English Patient designed to stir sympathy among the jurors? Or was it, more prosaically, a sincere look of physical anguish from a being who recently underwent back surgery?

Either way, as soon as Weinstein, 67, recruited field and accommodated himself at the protection counter, any clues of vulnerability ended in the chilly courtroom air.

Day after epoch, he was surrounded by his luxuriously-appareled and no doubt similarly lavishly-paid team of defense lawyers attending to his every whim. It was as though he was not in law, so much as propping law, in an outpost of his once acclaimed( and now sold) Tribeca film offices.

Much attention has been paid in the course of these weeks to the figure of Donna Rotunno, the defendant’s larger than life and enormously outspoken bos defense lawyer. She spent the contest strutting in front of the jury as though she were in a throwback to the 1970 s, castigating the two main accusers for the choices they did in its relationships with the movie boss.

The clear implication of her cross-examinations was that when they acquired Weinstein’s invitation to come up to his SoHo apartment, or to his midtown Manhattan hotel room, it was at least partially their demerit that he then went on to sexually criticize them.

” You were manipulating Mr Weinstein so you’d get invited to fancy gatherings, remedy? You wanted to use his capability, correct ?”, Rotunno said as she pummeled a key witness.

But the many squats that she and her peers comprised around the defendant at his table concludes that if Rotunno were the messenger, Weinstein firmly dictated the sense. When she grilled one of the two main accusers- a woman the Guardian has not identified because her pleases over identification are not clear- so harshly over so many hours that the witness burst into uncontrollable sobbing, that was the product of a strategy that Weinstein had laid down personally years ago.

Harvey Weinstein’s sex crime tribulation in New York, 24 February 2020. Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/ Reuters

Silence the women, that was the policy. Accuse them of being serial liars, as the defense lawyers did with the Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, make out that they were only in it for the money as they did with the other main witness, Miriam Haley, indicating to the jury that Haley planned to sue Weinstein the instant the trouble was done.

Initially, this old-style attack machine of a defense appeared to be effective. It may have been blunt, it may have been outdated in the #MeToo era, but it territory various punches on the six accusers.

But then the women started speaking. One after the other, they took to the witness stand.

When they pointed out Weinstein at his table their paws were shaking and their enunciates faltering. But there was no mistaking the determination to have their day in court.

And then they began to tell their legends, or rather their legend. Like a celluloid movie wheel stuck on a scene that repeats over and over, they narrated an analogous chronology as though they were speaking as one.

First came the social introduction to Weinstein, a hulk spirit in the industry that they adored; then the promise of an acting constituent or audition; then the request for a massage, followed by the flash of anger when it was rejected; and then the woman’s contrition and her momentous following to come up to the apartment or the inn area to continue the discussion.

He was a Jekyll and Hyde, the woman who was crimes said about the defendant.” If he heard the word ‘no ‘, “its like” a trigger for him .”

It was the Jekyll and Hyde minutes that will stay in the mind, lurking long after the contest is over. The terrifying notes of violence.

The rape victim report how he blocked the door of his hotel room in March 2013, dragged her to his bed, introduced himself with erectile dysfunction medicine and then assaulted her.” I kind of shut down a little ,” she said.

Haley relating how he held her down on his bunked in July 2006, propagandizing her back when she tried to get up, yanking a tampon out of her before aggression her.

Weinstein and his defense lawyers shaped much of the fact that his accusers stayed in touch with him after the two attacks. Rotunno and co stayed on the crime prey, teasing out every detail of how she sustained a relationship with the movie farmer- degrading though it may have been- over several years.

The jury listened attentively, diligently took notes, then began their deliberations. Five weeks later they developed on a blazingly pleasant New York daytime to deliver a judgment that showed that the world has moved on. #MeToo has happened. A wife can lead her life in all its complexity, all its messiness and still expect a rape to be called a rape.

” I know the history of my relation with him ,” she had said under brutal cross-examination.” I know it was complicated and difficult. But that doesn’t change the facts of the case that he abused me .”

  • In the US, Rainn offers support at 800 -6 56 -4 673 or by chat at Rainn.org. In the UK, the assault crisis national freephone helpline is at 0808 -8 02 -9 999. In Australia, patronize is located at 1800 Respect( 1800 -7 37 -7 328) or1800respect. org.au. Other international helplines can be found at Ibiblio.org .

Read more: https :// www.theguardian.com/ nature/ 2020/ feb/ 24/ harvey-weinstein-trial-verdict-victims

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