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After 14 months of allegations and denials, Harvey Weinstein faces a pivotal day in court

It's been 14 months since the first allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein that sparked H...

Posted: Dec 20, 2018 8:42 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2018 8:42 AM

It's been 14 months since the first allegations of sexual misconduct against Harvey Weinstein that sparked Hollywood's #MeToo movement. Now comes a potential day of reckoning for the disgraced movie mogul.

Weinstein is expected in a New York courtroom Thursday for what will be a pivotal pretrial hearing in his criminal case.

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He is accused of raping a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman at his Manhattan apartment in 2006.

He faces five felony charges: two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty.

The case hasn't been completely smooth for the prosecution. In October one of Weinstein's six felony charges was dismissed after an NYPD officer was found to have mishandled evidence.

Here's a look back at how we got here.

The accusations surface

On October 5, 2017, The New York Times published a lengthy story detailing numerous accusations of sexual harassment by Weinstein. Among the accusers was Ashley Judd, the first high-profile actress to speak out publicly against him.

Weinstein said at the time that he was sorry for his behavior and the "pain" he had caused, although he did not admit to any criminal wrongdoing.

He then announced a leave of absence from his film company, The Weinstein Company. But three days later he was fired from the company that he co-founded with his brother Bob Weinstein in 2005.

Two days after that, Ronan Farrow published an explosive story in The New Yorker that included new allegations of harassment and rape against Weinstein. Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and other well-known actresses came forward with new allegations in The New York Times.

The fallout

On October 14, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences kicked Weinstein out of its membership. The Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts all followed suit.

Georgina Chapman, Weinstein's wife since 2007, announced she was leaving her husband. The pair have two children.

Over the next several days more women in Hollywood came forward with their own allegations against Weinstein, including Lena Headey, Lauren Holly, Alice Evans, Lysette Anthony, Lupita Nyong'o and Rose McGowan.

Actors halted projects they were developing with The Weinstein Company -- including Channing Tatum, who was working on a film about child sexual abuse. Harvard University announced it was rescinding Weinstein's Du Bois medal, awarded to him in 2014.

The investigations begin

In October 2017 the Los Angeles Police Department opened an investigation into potential criminal behavior by Weinstein -- based on an alleged sexual assault in 2013.

The next month CNN confirmed the NYPD was launching its own investigation into claims of sexual assault against the movie producer.

In February 2018, the Metropolitan Police in London said they were looking into allegations by two additional women.

Later that month, then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against Weinstein and The Weinstein Company, pausing their plan to sell the company to a group of investors led by Maria Contreras-Sweet. New York state prosecutors claim the studio failed to protect their employees from alleged harassment. The Weinstein Company was later sold to a private equity firm.

The following month, the New York State attorney general announced it would review Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s decision not to prosecute Weinstein for an alleged sex abuse case in 2015 involving model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez.

Numerous women also have filed civil suits against Weinstein, alleging he sexually assaulted them. Brafman, Weinstein's lawyer, has denied the claims.

Weinstein turns himself in

The New York criminal case against Weinstein became all the more real May 25 when he turned himself in to authorities and was charged with three felonies, including rape.

"Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual behavior with anyone," Brafman, his lawyer, said at the time. "Nothing about today's proceedings changes Mr. Weinstein's position. He has entered a plea of not guilty and fully expects to be exonerated."

On July 9, Weinstein pleaded not guilty to three additional sex-crime counts in New York, bringing the total number of felony charges to six.

More than 80 women have now publicly accused Weinstein of crimes ranging from unwanted advances to rape.

Questions emerge about the case against him

In August, Weinstein's criminal case took a dramatic turn when his attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the charges, citing the discovery of evidence they claimed the grand jury was not shown. Dozens of emails were made public which revealed some of Weinstein's accusers exchanging friendly messages with him following the alleged acts of sexual assault and rape.

The emails and text messages -- allegedly sent and received through Weinstein's official company account and phone -- were obtained by his legal team earlier this year after a bankruptcy judge in Delaware granted access to them for his criminal defense.

The prosecution faced a hurdle in October 2018 when NYPD Detective Nicholas DiGaudio was accused of coaching a witness, causing one of the six felony charges against Weinstein to be thrown out. The charge stemmed from an allegation by an actress that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca office in 2004.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office said DiGaudio told an accuser to delete cell phone messages prior to turning her phones over to authorities. He was taken off the case.

What could happen Thursday

Judge James Burke is expected to rule on a motion by Brafman to dismiss the remaining 5 counts against Weinstein. Brafman is arguing the case was "irreparably tainted by police misconduct."

In lieu of that, Weinstein's attorney also has requested an evidentiary hearing to examine conduct by police and prosecutors in the case.

The judge could grant the hearing -- or allow the case to proceed and set a trial date. Or he could dismiss all the charges.

But even if the entire criminal case is thrown out, Weinstein still faces lots of legal hurdles.

"Even if [Manhattan District Attorney] Cyrus Vance is not able to win in court, he (Weinstein) still faces all of the civil allegations," Richard Levick, an attorney and crisis management expert, told CNN. "He is no more redeemable than Bill Cosby."

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