Looks like Harvey Weinstein is going to walk.
Not in the sense of walk free, but just in that he no longer needs to huff and puff into court on a Zimmer frame like some sort of bewildered and geriatric Marcel Marceau. At one stage during his trial, I half-expected him to walk into a high wind, sew his fingers together, and get shut in a glass box.
But the real stars of the show were the improvised tennis-ball-rubber-Zimmer-feet, Robbie Coltrane’s baggy suit, and black plimsolls, which as an ensemble merited an Academy Award in themselves, perhaps even an independent living allowance.
Props to the props guy.
If you hadn’t been secreted in an Afghan cave for the past two years, you would have looked at his ostensibly ponderous meandering and taken it as read that this was some poor dude seriously down on his luck. Everybody is on his case. Not just a merciless horde of deranged, psycho women baying for his blood, but even a plant pot had come forward with an accusing stalk, the herbaceous bastard.
I’m still shocked that the defence didn’t push for a mistrial, because a jury of Weinstein’s peers would have comprised a panel of perspiring, sociopathic, entitled gazillionaires looking for a hall pass for their gross abuses of power. Instead, the quest for justice had been saddled with a panel composed of scrupulous and upstanding members of the community, determined to execute their civic duty, and try the case on its merits.
It’s a dashed outrage, that’s what it is.
But to their credit, the defence rose to the challenge and in a move worthy of the drama of Johnny Cochran’s glove, they conjured up an innovative reversal of responsibility that cast Weinstein as the target of licentious film star wannabees who tried to hold sway over the mogul with favours in exchange for career opportunities. Their subsequent regret was then weaponised against him as a kind of buyer’s remorse.
‘Even though he’s a shit, you must acquit’. Well, that’s not exactly how they put it, but it sums it up quite aptly, and it’s probably how dear ‘ole Johnnie would have played it.
Now I don’t know how much the legal eagles were trousering, but it was clearly not enough. That’s top-quality trial lawyering right there, though the sequence reworking was more Tarantino than Perry Mason. Still, much more effective than simply calling the Wolf.
Perhaps the argument that news coverage prompted witnesses to re-imagine their ordeals has some validity, but you can’t help feeling that the Zimmer frame Vaudeville was the tactic of a man who knew his version of events alone was not going to fly.
And if the DA can whistle up allegations from 80 unrelated women and their accounts dovetail into a common modus operandi, that will – in respect of a defence strategy – really shoot Marvin in the face.
Every cloud has a silver lining though, and the jury did find him not guilty of regarding predatory sexual assault which could have led to a life sentence. His PR guy must be pleased though. Whatever else came to light during the trial, the film tycoon had not been branded a predator.
So, the Judge remanded him to Rikers and will now ponder on the likely sentence. If there is any such thing as justice, he’ll layer on a few extra years for Shakespeare in Love and that ding-dong tennis ball jiggery-pokery.
Plants all over the US though are praying that it won’t be some sort of gardening in the community detail.
Anyway, irrespective of any jail time, Harv’s not exactly going to be part of some chain-gang breaking rocks, though he has arguably already perfected the shuffle. If you’ve got a substantial grip (pun intended), you can buy comfort and protection from the prison fraternity. Contrary to the perception that there’s a moral code in jails that stigmatises sex crimes, a mega, horse-choking wad of notes trumps it all. In fact, even tobacco does the job.
But let’s hope he’s not offered pot because jail is the last place his urges need to be triggered.
The most significant message from this whole sorry saga was however not trial-related. It came when, after the allegations first surfaced, Weinstein’s career crashed and burned with staggering velocity way before the first file had even touched the mahogany of the New York Prosecutor’s desk.
I mean, salacious revelations are nothing new, but there was seemingly no appetite whatsoever for a ‘let’s wait and see’ or an ‘innocent until proven guilty’ line, similar to the benefit of the doubt afforded to other stars.
The Academy rescinded his membership and other awards and accolades were pulled back faster than Harv did his own foreskin. He’ll have to be content with polishing his Oscar in the privacy of his office from now on.
It did all rather suggest that the powers-that-be knew only too well that the proverbial cat was out of the bag, and that these actions were nothing short of unabashed distancing and self-preservation. Shame on them that such people in positions of relative power never spoke up earlier.
It also begs the question regarding who else is out there hiding in plain sight?
Now that’s a swamp that Mr Trump could really focus on draining.unsplash-logoRachel Lees