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Harvey Weinstein’s Conviction Was Fragile From the Start

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the overturning of Harvey Weinstein's New York sex crimes conviction, which was considered a fragile case from the start due to the challenges prosecutors faced in building a strong criminal case against him.

🙋 Q&A

[01] News analysis: Harvey Weinstein's Conviction Was Fragile From the Start

1. What were the key challenges prosecutors faced in building a criminal case against Harvey Weinstein?

  • Many of the allegations against Weinstein were about sexual harassment, which is a civil violation, not a criminal one
  • Some of the accusers were from out of state, especially California, or fell beyond the statute of limitations
  • One of the original accusers was dropped from the trial due to allegations of police misconduct
  • The prosecutors proceeded with a trial based on only two victims, who accused him of sexual assault but also admitted to having consensual sex with him at other times - a combination that many experts say is too messy to win convictions
  • The prosecutors had little concrete evidence to prove their case against Weinstein, who denies all allegations of non-consensual sex

2. How did the New York court's decision to overturn Weinstein's conviction impact the case?

  • The overturning of Weinstein's New York sex crimes conviction was not a shocking reversal, as the criminal case against him had been fragile since the day it was filed
  • Prosecutors made risky, boundary-pushing bets in moving the case forward
  • New York's top judges, many of them female, have held rounds of pained debates over whether Weinstein's conviction was clean
  • The issue of whether Weinstein's trial was fair "is a really close question that could have gone either way," according to a former Manhattan prosecutor

3. What is the broader context around the Weinstein case and the #MeToo movement?

  • Outside the justice system, evidence of Weinstein's sexual misconduct is overwhelming, with nearly 100 women coming forward with accounts of pressure and manipulation by him after the initial New York Times report
  • Weinstein's alleged victims could fill an entire courtroom, but few of them could stand at the center of a New York criminal trial due to the challenges in building a strong criminal case
  • The Weinstein case sparked the global #MeToo reckoning, but the criminal conviction was seen as fragile from the start due to the prosecutors' risky legal strategy and the complex nature of the allegations.
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