Harvey Weinstein surrendered this morning to face charges that he raped a woman and forced another to perform oral sex, but it’s hard to justify his prosecution while another alleged serial abuser resides in the White House. Donald Trump’s alleged transgressions are no less serious.
Weinstein, 66, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 60 women, including A-list actresses over the course of his career as one of the most powerful moguls in Hollywood.
Among those who have spoken out are model Cara Delevingne and actresses Eva Green, Daryl Hannah, Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Beckinsale.
His downfall last November, following exposes in The New York Times and The New Yorker launched the #MeToo movement.
The outcry over sexual abuse has led to accusations against a bevy of well-known actors and Hollywood executives, including Trump.
So far, Weinstein is the only one to face charges–specifically first-degree rape and third-degree rape in one case, and first-degree criminal sex act in another.
The alleged rape victim has not been publicly identified, but the criminal sex act charge stems from an encounter with Lucia Evans, who alleged in October last year that Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex during a casting meeting at the Miramax office.
Weinstein surrendered to police, was handcuffed and taken into custody this morning. He will be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court. In a deal negotiated in advance by his lawyers, he agreed to post a $1 million cash bond, surrender his passport and wear a monitoring device, according to reports.
At least 19 women, since the 1980s, have accused the president of sexual assault and sexual harassment, including non-consensual kissing or groping,
During a bitter 1980 divorce, then-wife Ivana Trump accused him of rape, but later recanted. Businesswoman Jill Harth sued Trump in 1997 alleging breach of contract while also suing for nonviolent sexual harassment. The suits were settled out of court.
Last year, former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos filed a defamation lawsuit after Trump called her a liar for making sex assault accusations against him arising out of a 2007 incident.
Trump’s attorney, Marc Kasowitz, filed an answer to Zervos’ complaint Tuesday evening, according to CNN. The response sets the stage for Trump to provide pre-trial testimony known as a deposition.
If he lies, Trump could face impeachment, a fate that befell President Clinton. Clinton lied under oath in a civil case. The episode creates ample precedent for Trump’s removal from office.
Trump is trying to argue he is immune from prosecution under the Constitution’s supremacy clause. But there is some legal question whether that applies to crimes committed while not in office.
Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” engaging in anything other than consensual sex. Trump insists that each and every woman is lying. He threatened to sue them during the 2016 election, but never followed through.
Trump, however, went to great lengths on the eve of the election to buy the silence of porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump in 2006. Playboy model Karen McDougall also said she had a 10-month affair with Trump around the same time.
His wife, First Lady Melania Trump had just given birth. Former White House aid Steve Bannon has said Trump paid off other women as well.
Lawyers for Zervos have subpoenaed video archives of Trump’s show “The Apprentice” during the time their client appeared as a contestant. They’ve asked for all documents, video or audio recordings that feature Zervos or Trump talking about Zervos or that show Trump inappropriately “commenting on the female candidates.”
Trump, of course, was infamously recorded talking to TV host Billy Bush, bragging how his celebrity status allowed him to “do anything” to women, including “just start kissing them … I don’t even wait” and “grab ’em by the pussy.” The tape leaked during the election.
Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contestants also accused Trump of barging into their dressing rooms while they were naked or semi-naked under the pretext of “checking things out.”
While Weinstein’s arrest marks a significant step forward for the #MeToo movement, his prosecution will fly in the face of his Constitutional right to equal protection under the law as long as Trump’s alleged misdeeds are ignored.