Manhattan Judge Rules That Harvey Weinstein Case Will Proceed To March 7 Pre-Trial Hearing

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Disgraced Hollywood media mogul Harvey Weinstein, a key catalyst behind the widely-revived #MeToo movement, will be going to trial. On Thursday Judge James Burke rejected Weinstein’s legal request to dismiss the remaining five counts of sexual misconduct and rape charged by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. The case is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on March 7. The judge previously dismissed one of the initial sex counts involving allegations by Lucia Evans.

Vanity Fair writes that the courtroom was packed with reporters and supporters of the Time’s Up movement. Actors Marisa Tomei, Kathy Najimy, and Amber Tamblyn joined Time’s Up President and CEO Lisa Borders, who said that she was “relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed” in his efforts to have the charges dismissed.

The case remains complicated, especially after the dismissal of one count against Weinstein. With the case proceeding, Judge Burke’s rulings around evidence will heavily influence the case.

Attorney Alan Dershowitz, who was brought on by Weinstein’s lead attorney Ben Brafman as a consultant, says defense emails contradict claims that the sexual encounters were forced.

The Hollywood Reporter wrote this week that Brafman has already presented a series of emails to Weinstein from accuser Miriam "Mimi" Haleyi, who wrote endearments like "Miss you too," "Lots of Love" and "xxxxx" in the years after a 2006 encounter in New York in which she says she was sexually assaulted by the producer. In October 2017, Haleyi made one of the most salacious accusations against Weinstein when she said during a press conference, with attorney Gloria Allred at her side, that the Oscar winner pulled out her tampon and orally forced himself on her.

“You can’t both accuse someone publicly and then hide behind privacy to keep highly relevant evidence out,” says Dershowitz. “The evidence I’ve seen doesn’t embarrass anyone. It suggests a loving relationship that seems fairly commonplace. For people who say, ‘This is the way that people behave [after an assault] and you can’t make judgments on these things,’ well that’s for the public to judge and for courts to judge.”

Dershowitz adds, “I believe that if a grand jury and the public were to see these emails, they would come to a very different conclusion about what happened. The emails show consensual relationships between Weinstein and his accusers both before and after the alleged crimes allegedly occurred.”

It must also be noted that lawyer Brafman represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who won a high profile New York legal case involving a maid at his hotel.

"Credibility and reliability of the government's witnesses is obviously an essential consideration for any good prosecutor," says Greenberg Traurig's Mathew S. Rosengart, himself a former prosecutor. "This was particularly true in this matter because Brafman is masterful at picking apart witnesses and creating reasonable doubt based upon law enforcement or other errors. He did that in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case against this very same DA's office."

#MeToo Leader Asia Argento Paid Her Own 17 Year-Old Accuser $380.000 For His Silence

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The past week has been so difficult on the topic of sexual assault, reading about priests in PA. It forces me to relieve my own history, when I would much rather put it in a lock box once and for all.

Then yesterday, I wanted to vomit reading feminists defending NYU prof Avital Ronell and her relationship with Nimrod Reitman. They are both gay, adding another layer to their confusing tale.

NYU professor Avital Ronell

NYU professor Avital Ronell

Men correctly called feminists on their word games support for Ronell, the woman professor and holder of the power in this situation. Hypocrisy among women infused the comments section around the article, generally defending Ronell on the basis of her brilliance as justification for her transgressions.

I slept in this am, being just drained from work. I read yesterday about CNN making a documentary about the extraordinary human Anthony Bourdain, who committed suicide a few months ago. I miss him so much.

And now I wake up this morning to read that Bourdain's girlfriend Asia Argento, one of Harvey Weinstein's chief accusers of rape in 1997 and a leading figure in the #MeToo movement, quietly arranged to pay $380,000 for her own alleged assault against Jimmy Bennett when he was 17 and she 37.

It comes on the heel's of this weekend's personal appeal from Linda Sarsour for money, even though I want nothing to do with The Women's March and definitely Sarsour for her comments about ALL white women and Jewish women. Who cares!! Linda barged into my life again on Saturday, even though I've had very direct discussions with the organization to leave me alone. Linda didn't get the message, or decided that she holds the power in our relationship.

What in the world are we about as human beings? All of our institutions are just being blown to bits. Who and what can we believe in? I worry so much about the little people, especially women and children who can't fight back. ~ Anne

Anthony Bourdain: The World Has Lost A Bridge Uniting Us & Women Have Lost A Standup #MeToo Guy

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Anthony Bourdain was found dead in France's luxury hotel, Le Chambard, in Kaysersberg on Friday. The celebrity chef, writer and globetrotting TV host was 61 and is believed to have committed suicide. "We have indeed learned of the death by hanging of the American chef this morning in a luxury hotel in Kaysersberg, Le Chambard," said Colmar's public prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel in a statement. "At this stage, nothing suggests the intervention of a third party," he added.

Bourdain's employer, CNN, reported the news, leaving CNN's Van Jones to tell People: “This is the kind of business where at his level, people are notoriously terrible to people,” says Jones. “And Anthony never was. If he had any doubt about how much he meant to us at CNN I wish he could see a whole building just shook. A whole building of hard-nosed journalist who cover floods, fires, assassinations and everything else just stunned into silence.”

I've always really liked Anthony Bourdain, macho warts and all because -- like me -- he is a globalist and lover of people worldwide. I knew that he reported being so happy in his relationship with girlfriend actor Asia Argento, who publicly described a sexual assault by Harvey Weinstein and suffered major public repercussions in Italy.  Bourdain was deeply affected by Argento's story and other #MeToo stories unfolding before his eyes. Surely, he was deeply impacted by Asia Argento's fiery speech, sharing the podium with director Ava DuVernay at the closing ceremony of the 71st Cannes Film Festival.

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

Alberto Pizzoli/AFP/Getty Images

 “In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes,” Argento bluntly told the audience. “This festival was his hunting ground.” She went on to warn abusers in the crowd, “You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are. And we’re not going to let you get away with it any longer.”

This is the last article I read about Bourdain, published April 20 in The Daily Beast, and it was about #MeToo. Bourdain sounded stunned to learn first hand what women go though in life -- most women in every country in the world. His words grabbed my heart, because was such a stud muffin and I could see that this man of the world was very impacted to study the female perspective and his own role in advancing what he called "toxic masculinity". I'm not linking this evolution in thinking in any way to Bourdain's suicide. But I want to call out his most recent thinking and how supportive he was of #MeToo, telling Alec Baldwin specifically and men like him who attack #MeToo to just shut up.

As the tributes flood media, Vox details key quotes from a recent interview about #MeToo that Bourdain shared with Isaac Chotiner of Slate. A key quote"

I am a guy on TV who sexualizes food. Who uses bad language. Who thinks our discomfort, our squeamishness, fear and discomfort around matters sexual is funny. I have done stupid offensive shit. And because I was a guy in a guy’s world who had celebrated a system—I was very proud of the fact that I had endured that, that I found myself in this very old, very, frankly, phallocentric, very oppressive system and I was proud of myself for surviving it. And I celebrated that rather enthusiastically.

Besides all Anthony Bourdain's other wonderful qualities, we should remember him really standing up for women. Thank you, Anthony Bourdain. I will miss your globetrotting, sitting down with people everywhere as I've done, perspective deeply. You had wisdom, man. Most people never get there. With admiration and love, I weep for the inner grief that took you to this dark place today. We are shattered. ~ Anne