Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused by at least 78 women of conduct ranging from sexual harassment to sexual assault. Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, founded Miramax and led the company from 1979 through 2005. The Weinstein’s departed from Miramax in 2005 shortly after founding The Weinstein Company. The two film production companies have garnered 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards. Harvey Weinstein was fired from The Weinstein Company on Oct. 8, 2017, and then resigned from the company's board.
As of this writing, Weinstein is facing an arrest warrant from the state of New York for allegations that he raped an actress in 2010. Substantial allegations of Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct first surfaced in the New York Times on Oct. 5, 2017. Dozens of actresses, models, film directors and reporters have all come forward with accusations that they were harassed, groped, sexually coerced or raped by Weinstein in a pattern that goes back decades. The alleged incidents took place in California, New York, London and Cannes, France. The New York Times reported that multiple women were paid settlements by Weinstein at Miramax and The Weinstein Company to avoid pursuing complaints against him.
There are two possible ways in which Harvey Weinstein could face legal ramifications if he is found guilty: Criminal charges brought by the states of California and New York, and civil suits brought by individual women who allege that they were harmed by Weinstein.
New York Charges Against Harvey WeinsteinThe NYPD announced on Nov. 2, 2017, that it will pursue rape charges against Harvey Weinstein, pending an arrest warrant from the Manhattan District Attorney. Detectives say that actress Paz de la Huerta, who starred in HBO's "Boardwalk Empire," presented credible testimony that she was raped on two separate occasions by Weinstein in 2010. The NYPD also says that de la Huerta provided corroborating evidence of her allegations against Weinstein. Reports indicate that Weinstein is in a sex rehab clinic in Arizona. If the Manhattan District Attorney moves forward by issuing a warrant, Arizona police will have to arrest Weinstein and then he will be transported to New York to face trial.
Additional Charges LikelyMultiple actresses have related stories of being raped by Harvey Weinstein or forced to perform oral sex on him. With 78 women accusing Weinstein of crimes and harassment, it is likely that he will face additional charges after his initial arrest. Several additional women have accused Weinstein of raping them in the 1980s and '90s. Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of sexually groping them, which could also lead to sexual assault charges. The same statute of limitations applies in those cases. Keep in mind that allegations of sexual crimes made on Twitter or reported in a newspaper are not criminal charges. Many of the women who have made accusations against Weinstein have done so publicly, but have not pressed charges against him by going to the police. If they do come forward with credible allegations against Weinstein, a prosecutor would pursue the case.
Civil Lawsuits Against Harvey WeinsteinNew York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened a civil rights case against The Weinstein Company on Oct. 23, 2017. Schneiderman has filed a subpoena for sexual discrimination complaints and other records from the company. If Schneiderman can prove that The Weinstein Company knew about Harvey Weinstein's behavior and took no corrective action, the company will likely be facing civil fines. As of 2017, The Weinstein Company has an estimated net worth of $150 million. Because many of the alleged assaults took place in a work-related setting, The Weinstein Company could be held liable for damages to the victims, if sued.
Harvey Weinstein can also be sued personally by his alleged victims in civil court. Weinstein's personal net worth is estimated to be between $240 and $300 million. Sexual harassment is a civil matter and the criteria for it can vary from one jurisdiction to another. Sexual assault victims are also able to file a civil suit against an attacker. Given the high-profile nature of the case, it is very likely that some of Weinstein's alleged victims will file civil suits against him. The statute of limitations will vary depending on the jurisdiction.
Possible Outcomes of a TrialCalifornia and London are looking at the possibility of prosecuting Harvey Weinstein as well. Legal experts believe there is a good possibility that Weinstein will be prosecuted in California, where the law is very favorable for a prosecutor to bring charges against him. Experts also believe that if Weinstein is convicted in a criminal trial, he is more likely to face a fine rather than a prison sentence. Comparisons to Bill Cosby's recent sexual assault trial have been made, but there are some significant differences. The jury in the trial became deadlocked after 52 hours of deliberating, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. This highlights the difficulty of reaching a guilty verdict against a well-known, high-profile celebrity. However, Cosby and Weinstein are two very different public figures. Bill Cosby, for example, had a sterling reputation and a legacy of being a much-loved television personality and comedian. Weinstein, on the other hand, has had a seedy reputation as a movie producer, with rumors of his aggressive behavior toward women swirling around him for decades. In addition, many of Weinstein's alleged victims are world-famous actresses. A jury might be very sympathetic toward Weinstein's alleged victims, and more likely to deliver a guilty verdict in a trial. Even without physical evidence of Weinstein's crimes, it should be possible for his alleged victims to establish a pattern of behavior that could lead to a successful outcome in a civil suit.
California Sexual Abuse AttorneysJohnson Attorneys Group believes that Harvey Weinstein should be held accountable for his actions and that a message needs to be sent that Weinstein's alleged behavior is unacceptable and illegal. Our law firm can help victims pursue a lawsuit against individuals such as Harvey Weinstein. Johnson Attorneys Group will fight for a successful outcome for you and will do so with the compassion necessary for these trying circumstances. Contact us at 1-800-235-6801 for a free and completely confidential consultation with a California injury attorney today.
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