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In handcuffing powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein Friday, US authorities justice appeared to confirm that no one escapes the long arm of the law in the United States.

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / STEPHANIE KEITH


In handcuffing powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein Friday, US authorities justice appeared to confirm that no one escapes the long arm of the law in the United States.

But the record shows that celebrity and wealth promises a better outcome for the accused, especially in sex cases.

That legal ambivalence was on view Friday with the arrest of Weinstein in New York on rape and sex crime charges. After turning himself in, the multi-millionaire behind a slew of award-winning Hollywood films was quickly freed after posting a steep cash bail of $1 million.

Wealth allows him to hire one of the country's toughest criminal defense lawyers, Benjamin Brafman.

The powerhouse attorney notably defended pop icon Michael Jackson and former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn against sex charges, as well as the rapper and producer Sean "P. Diddy" Combs against weapons violations and bribery charges. None of the three were convicted.

- 'Privileged' -

While justice may be catching up with Weinstein, it is also testament to his wealth, fame and power that it has taken this long -- the complaints detail more than two decades of alleged sexual misconduct against women.

"I didn't believe this day would come," said actress Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of having raped her in 1997.

She said the producer was "privileged" to be arrested Friday, at the beginning of the long Memorial Day holiday weekend when Americans are likely to take less notice of the news.

For the wealthy, it is easier to avoid a public trial. The US legal system leaves a lot of room for negotiation between the accused and their accusers.

Nine out of ten criminal cases are resolved in a plea deal between prosecutors and the accused, rather than by a jury decision.

Brafman said Weinstein intends to plead "not guilty," but also said he will continue pressing the New York prosecutor "to dissuade them from proceeding" with the investigation -- a possibility rarely available to poorer defendants.

The odds, and history, favor Weinstein. The greatest example is the 1995 case of OJ Simpson, the celebrated football player who hired a top-notch legal team to fight murder charges and won. Read More From AFP...
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