“The only reasonably prudent decision would be to stop this chaos now.”
That was Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Harvey Weinstein, in a document filed to the New York Supreme Court, making the argument that the criminal case against his client should be dismissed.
Weinstein is currently facing five criminal charges stemming from the allegations that he forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in 2006 and raped a woman in a hotel room in 2013. The judge presiding over the case, James Burke, has apparently decided that “chaos” is an insufficient reason to have those claims dismissed out of hand. At a hearing on Thursday, Burke ruled instead that the Manhattan district attorney’s case will continue: Weinstein will face trial in 2019.
The decision—the case not closed, the women’s fight allowed to fight on—came, in some ways, as a surprise. In October, Burke had dismissed one of the initial charges against Weinstein (brought by Lucia Evans, whose allegation that Weinstein had forced oral sex on her was first reported in The New Yorker) on the grounds that a police investigator had concealed evidence from the court that contradicted Evans’s testimony. Media outlets had been reporting, in the run-up to Thursday’s hearing, that the claims against Weinstein were unraveling. “I believe the case is going nowhere,” one former New York Police Department detective told NPR. He was not alone in that assumption: Several outlets, assessing the slings and arrows of the situation, predicted that Burke would throw it all out in Thursday’s hearing, leaving Weinstein to public shame but legal impunity.