Me Too, before the test of the justice

The quote's final movement to Me Too with the system of justice is this Monday, on the 15th floor of a mass of granite art deco-which houses the criminal Court

Me Too, before the test of the justice

The quote's final movement to Me Too with the system of justice is this Monday, on the 15th floor of a mass of granite art deco-which houses the criminal Court, New York state, at 100 Centre Street, Lower Manhattan. "What we will see on Monday is the trial more important than the united States right now," says the lawyer, feminist Gloria Allred. There will sit for the first time the film producer Harvey Weinstein to listen in live and in front of a judge to the stories of the alleged victims of sexual abuse.

Allred attends to the phone from Los Angeles, hours before travelling to New York. In the lawsuit against Weinstein represents Mimi Haleyi. Of the nearly 90 women came out publicly to denounce sexual abuse in different degrees by Weinstein, the Attorney's office in New York city alone has filed charges for two, Haleyi, and another woman whose name remains still confidential. Haleyi was a production assistant, which ensures that Weinstein abused her in a hotel. The other woman ensures that he raped her in 2013.

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The charges against Harvey Weinstein in the press in October 2017 were not only the biggest scandal of Hollywood in this century, but that gave rise to the movement Me Too, a profound change in the culture of silence about the use of sex in the entertainment industry, which ended up spreading to the whole of society and around the world. Cases were counted by the dozen in a few weeks. "Despite the fact that it opened investigations in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills or London, the only one that filed charges was the prosecutor's office of Manhattan and is the only case in which it is processed," explains Allred.

Recent reports claim that there could be new charges in Los Angeles. But for now, the case 02335/2018 of the New York Court is the first and only time that Weinstein, the man who has come to symbolize for himself the abuse of power to obtain sex, is going to face justice. Is accused of one count of sexual offense in the first degree; two counts of rape in the first and third degree; and two counts of sexual assault "predatory", a legal term that establishes an aggravating factor and refers to the fact that the crime is part of their natural behaviour. The anticipation of the Court is that the trial lasts six weeks. Weinstein, 67, denies all charges and claims that all sexual relations were tolerated. Is on bail of one million dollars.

There are several key characters in this judgment. First, the judge James Burke, who gets to preside over the first trial of Me Too. Burke, who has not allowed cameras in the hall, is a former prosecutor and has a reputation as a hard and a certain tendency to align with the prosecution when you have a margin of discretion. Up to now, has rebuffed all the attempts of Weinstein for to dismiss the charges. In addition it has allowed to declare up to four women is not directly related to the allegations. They are testimonies which the prosecution seeks to reinforce the idea that there is a pattern of behavior that dates back to decades ago.

From left to right, directors Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman and Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles in 2004. AFP

One of those women will be the actress Annabella Sciorra, 59-year-old. Sciorra ensures that Weinstein was raped in her apartment in New York in 1993. Your lawyer is also Gloria Allred. The testimony of Sciorra can prop up the charge of "conduct predatory" that look for the prosecution. If the jury believes the actress and found guilty of this, in addition to the two specific allegations, the penalty can be life imprisonment. That is why the testimony of Sciorra will be one of the moments of greatest tension, he anticipates his lawyer. "Tell your story on television is very different from doing so in a trial," says Allred. "It is more demanding and requires more courage. Weinstein has an army of lawyers and a defense very well funded. The interrogation of the defense is going to be hard."

Here comes another of the interesting characters of this judgment, the attorney Donna Rotunno. Weinstein incorporated it into his team not only because of the image that can give be represented by a woman, but also because he is a specialist in defending men accused by their sexual behavior. It has a questioner brutal that crushes women. "I can do more things at a hearing in a court of law that a lawyer man," he said in an interview with Chicago Magazine last year. "It's still a good lawyer, but if you're going for that woman with the same poison that I, it seems like a bully. If I do, no one moves a tab. And it has been very effective," said Rotunno. Gloria Allred responds: "we'll see as we feel that a jury of New York".

The selection of the jury, which can last up to three weeks, it will be perhaps the most important part of the trial from the technical point of view. "The defense is going to raise the issue of the difficulty of having an impartial jury", says Paul Mones, an attorney in Los Angeles specializing in cases of sexual abuse. "It's a case surrounded by a lot of published negative and Weinstein has the right to impartiality in his judgment as all over the world. I've been in several high-level cases, and I think it's going to be a problem." When a case is so well known, practically any citizen may have formed prejudices about the defendant only with turning on the television. "There has been a coverage is very extensive and its lawyers have every right to doubt that juries are impartial. In the end, they will find a jury, but it's going to take some time."

For Mones, the most interesting thing is "to see how it develops in the trial the accusation of abuse of power." "Technically, these women were not their employees. That's going to be interesting. In addition, there is the fact that it is very unlikely that a person so important and with so many financial means goes to trial for a criminal matter. It is very rare because it is usually people who have the ability to manipulate the system."

therefore, the fact that Weinstein feels in the trial to listen to in a trial of the accusations that ended up with him in the press already assumes a before and an after in this type of cases. It can be argued that the precedent is immediately the condemnation of Bill Cosby, but his problems with the law had started long before the movement #MeToo, and not have as much to do with the abuse of power. The importance of this case is to "raise the profile of the importance of legal and sociof these issues," says Mones. "The sexual abuse of women in the workplace has not had the attention it deserved. 75% of women have experienced some type of harassment. Depending on what happens in this trial, other prosecutors may decide to pull forward and have more zeal to investigate these cases."

And at the end, are looking at these women that have never counted and whose stalker was not Harvey Weinstein. "What is decided in this case and how it develops in that room, the way they treat the witnesses, all of that is going to send a very important message to the survivors that they are looking at," says Erin Robinson, a spokesman for the association Rainn, which defends victims of sex crimes from 25 years ago. The phone of Rainn to help victims serves more than 25,000 calls a month from across the united States. Robinson explains the importance of bringing to light these cases for victims to decide to report. "The day after the hearing the judge Kavannaugh in the Senate, calls increased by 338%".

The trial "is a trial by fire," says Robinson. "If I take the decision to denounce, what I'm going to treat it like such witnesses? what am I going to spend? What we would like to come out of this case is that the survivors can take the step of denouncing, that you will believe them and they will support it, even if it is a powerful person". What happens on Monday in Manhattan, "will send a powerful message".

The journey from Olympus to the sewers

In October of 2017, Weinstein spent in a week of being one of the producers most successful of Hollywood to be synonymous with the sewers of the business. With their companies, Miramax and The Weinstein Company, which he founded along with his brother, is the responsible of a good part of the cinema of the nineties. Won the Oscar for best film in 1998. He was the godfather of success for a generation of actresses such as Gwyneth Paltrow or Uma Thurman. When they came out in the press the first charges against him, passed by ostracism in a weekend and its fall ignited a wave of complaints on the quiet for years.

Updated Date: 05 January 2020, 03:00

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