NEW YORK (REUTERS) – After sexual assault prices had been dropped in opposition to former International Monetary Fund chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011, his lawyer Ben Brafman assailed the accuser’s credibility, telling Reuters: “This encounter was quick, it was consensual and she was a willing participant.”
Brafman on Friday (May 25) hinted he would take an analogous tack defending his newest consumer, film producer Harvey Weinstein.
But this time Brafman, one of many New York’s most outstanding defence legal professionals, will make his arguments in opposition to the backdrop of the #MeToo motion, which was largely sparked by reviews of his consumer’s sexual misconduct.
Outside the Manhattan courthouse the place Weinstein, 66, was arraigned on rape and legal sexual act prices, Brafman stated that, if he cross-examined the accusers, a jury wouldn’t imagine them, “assuming we get 12 fair people who are not consumed by the movement that seems to have overtaken this case.”
Weinstein has stated he by no means had non-consensual intercourse with anybody, and Brafman stated his consumer would plead not responsible to the costs by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
Attacking the credibility of accusers via powerful cross-examination is a standard protection technique in rape and sexual assault circumstances, which regularly boil right down to “he said, she said,” in keeping with New York lawyer Lisa Linsky.
She stated the play-book had not modified within the #MeToo period, and Brafman may argue that the accusers and different girls coming ahead had been motivated by fame or cash.
In the Strauss-Kahn case, Brafman stated on the time he deliberate to argue that the girl have to be mendacity as a result of she was a lot bigger than the accused.
“In a one-on-one she would probably win if this turned into a fist fight,” Brafman advised Reuters in 2011. “She is not a small person.”
But numerous legal professionals questioned whether or not Brafman would be capable of cross-examine Weinstein’s accusers aggressively within the face of overwhelming public sentiment of their favour and in opposition to Weinstein.
“That is the $64,000 question,” stated Gerald Lefcourt, considered one of Brafman’s friends amongst New York defence legal professionals.
Lefcourt stated he thought Brafman would discover a means.
“I think he is conscious of those considerations and will be able to strike the right tone,” stated Lefcourt. “That’s what makes him a great trial lawyer.”
Shira Scheindlin, a former New York federal choose now in non-public apply, stated the defence will turn out to be much more tough if the choose permits testimony of ladies aside from the accusers as proof Weinstein had a sample of conduct.
“If five other women have come forward, that’s going to weigh heavily on the jury,” she stated, although Brafman would possible argue that such testimony could be prejudicial.
Bennett Gershman, a professor at New York’s Pace Law School, stated the duty for Brafman was “monumental, maybe even impossible” given the depth of public antipathy in the direction of Weinstein.
“There is nobody like him,” stated Gershman. “He is the poster boy of predatory sexual conduct. Brafman is not going to be able to dislodge that view of him.”
Gershman stated he thought Brafman’s greatest technique could be to stall for time and attempt to get the absolute best plea deal, which will surely embrace jail time.
But defence lawyer Roy Black stated he didn’t suppose a deal could be doable.
“Given the way the flames of prejudice have been whipped up against him, anything less than life in prison will seem like a sweetheart deal,” stated Black.