Why Didn’t Harvey Run?

By

Leonard Zwelling

Even with his company in financial trouble and his own life a mess, I would have thought that Harvey Weinstein would have had a suitcase full of cash under his casting couch for emergencies and would have been smart enough to know that his situation qualifies as an emergency. Apparently not.

Rather then follow Roman Polanski beyond the reach of the arm of the U.S. law, he entered a not guilty plea in a New York City court room. He’s going to fight the charges that three journalists have received Pulitzer Prizes for having unearthed. Hmmm—bad bet!

Now old Harvey has an ankle bracelet on and cannot leave New York or Connecticut and has surrendered his passport. I guess he thinks he can beat this thing. I don’t think so.

His attorney as much as admitted that he had the sexual contact of which he is accused, but that he “didn’t invent the casting couch” and that somehow his victims had entered into a quid pro quo of sex in exchange for career advancement. I don’t think that’s going to fly as a legitimate defense.

Mr. Weinstein’s fate may rest on two principles. First, will the judge believe that he can get a fair trial in New York City? Can twelve of his peers be found without preconceived notions of his guilt? That is really going to be tough with the ubiquitous coverage that this has gotten, first in The New York Times and New Yorker and then all over the Internet. Is there anyone in New York State that doesn’t have an opinion on Harvey’s guilt? I doubt it.

The second key element is that only two women were named in the current charges. Will any of the other estimated 95 who Mr. Weinstein assaulted or otherwise mistreated be allowed to testify? This may depend on whether the judge allows the prosecution to use them as witnesses as evidence of a pattern of behavior.

Harvey has decided to roll the dice. He is basically betting that a jury of his peers cannot be found, that only the two accusers in this trial will be allowed to level accusations against him in court, and that he won’t be arraigned in other jurisdictions. Like I said, bad bet.

It is far more likely that there will be more lawsuits against Mr. Weinstein and others (Kevin Spacey? Morgan Freeman?) and that there will be a routinized procession of perp walks with formerly famous men from Hollywood, academia, and business—including medicine—dragged into court in handcuffs.

It was Ronald Reagan who said recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. A recovery is when President Carter loses his. Reagan won.

The parallel now is that delusional hope is when the actress you know is assaulted. Depression is when you as an actress gets assaulted. Recovery into the after #MeToo era is when these guys start to go to jail.

I am not sure why Mr. Weinstein didn’t choose to live out his days in the South Pacific somewhere rather than in Attica, but he didn’t and in that he has begun the healing process for women all over Hollywood. Much more healing is needed.

Leonard Zwelling