Dominating the headlines prior to COVID-19 hijacking our lives was the highly-covered, high-stakes trial of Harvey Weinstein in New York County Criminal Court. On March 11, 2020, the sentence was handed down of 23 years in prison for Weinstein’s rape of actress Jessica Mann and sexual assault of former production assistant Miriam Haley, after six women testified in a three month trial followed around the world. Jan Ransom, Harvey Weinstein’s Stunning Downfall: 23 Years in Prison, The New York Times, March 11, 2020. The moment was a stunning vindication of truth to power. Weinstein continues to face trial in California on additional charges of sexual assault where, if convicted, he would face additional severe penalties including a possible life sentence. Molly Crane-Newman and Larry McShane, Federal judge swiftly rejects $18.9 million class-action settlement for Weinstein victims negotiated by N.Y. attorney general, The New York Daily News, July 14, 2020.
Yet, pressing questions remain on the minds of the public and women in particular. What took so long? What of those legal advisors who investigated Weinstein’s alleged wrongdoing under the attorney/client privilege and possibly enabled the very actions of which Weinstein was later convicted? What of those attorneys who are defending Weinstein and the Weinstein Company officers and being paid from settlement proceeds that arguably should go to the very women he victimized? What price of ultimate justice? The time, the cost, the process, the publicity, the uncertainty. The lack of compensation. The absence of closure.
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