Trigger Warning: This story is about Harvey Weinstein and, as such, contains references to sexual assault.
It seems like just yesterday and also 500 years ago when the floodgates broke open for Harvey Weinstein. The wide-ranging allegations against him launched the #MeToo movement in 2017, after which his disgusting behavior became common knowledge with 100 women coming forward with accounts of rape or sexual assault.
Of course, because our world is both metaphorically and literally on fire, this doesn’t mean we can just send him to jail instantly — so now two years later, his trial has just begun.
Kicking off on Monday, because I guess even the legal system agreed that you can’t start “New Year, New Me” halfway through a week, the prosecution and defense are currently picking jurors for the case as we speak. That process is set to last two weeks, because I personally feel like it would be hard for his defense find jurors who a) don’t feel any type of way about Weinstein’s behavior or b) haven’t yet been paid off by Weinstein’s team. Or maybe that’s just the Carrie Mathison from Homeland in me talking, but! Once the jury is selected, the trial is expected to last about six weeks.
Things got off to a rousing start yesterday’s jury selection when the judge threatened to throw Weinstein in jail for using his cell phone.
“Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life by texting and violating a court order?” Judge James Burke asked. The best part? It wasn’t even the first time Weinstein’s been warned for using his phone in court.
Harvey, truly no one wants you watching their Instagram story. Put the damn phone away.
Also, I know we all know what he’s been accused of, but since you, unfortunately, can’t get jail time for being a scumbag, let’s break down what he is legally on trial for.
In New York, Weinstein is facing five charges in total: rape and predatory sexual assault of two women — his former production assistant Mimi Haleyi alleging assault and an unnamed woman who alleges Weinstein raped her in a hotel in 2013. A New York judge dismissed a sixth criminal charge last year, after a detective withheld information that might have helped Weinstein.
Actress Annabella Sciorra, who has come forward with an alleged assault that took place in the early 1990s — which happened too long ago to be prosecuted — is still able to be called as a witness during the trial.
On the same day his trial began, Weinstein was charged with four more counts of rape and sexual battery in Los Angeles. Harvey and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. You love to see it. (Love to see justice more, but tbd.)
Right now you also could be confused because you thought you broke your phone in a rage-filled throw-against-the-wall when you read in December that Weinstein was settling out of court.
You did read that correctly, because last month Weinstein reached a tentative deal that would pay out $25 million to nearly 30 actresses and ex-employees of his that have come forward. But that was in a civil case, and also that deal has also yet to be signed off. If the deal goes through, it would end almost all of the lawsuits against Weinstein and he would not have to admit any wrongdoing as part of the deal. The payout would also be covered by insurance. Ugh.
So, what’s happened so far in just day one of the trial? The judge already ruled out one of Weinstein’s witnesses, that detective accused of keeping “key evidence from prosecutors” that could have cast doubt on accusers accounts and who the Weinstein team hoped could undermine the New York Police Department. Have they not watched SVU? Never try to come for Olivia Benson.
If you — like me — are also a little concerned that he is only on trial for the rape and assault of two women when he’s done this to so many, don’t lose hope. Many are comparing this to the most recent trial of someone of his stature — Bill Cosby — who had over 50 women come forward but was only on trial for one count of sexual misconduct, and he still wound up behind bars. The team against Cosby had women that weren’t on trial come forward to share their stories, which helped the jurors and judge realize the pattern that was happening here.
While there aren’t many major updates now, stay posted for the jurors to get decided and for this sh*t storm to go underway.