In criminal cases prosecutors have the burden of proving every element of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt, and in Harvey Weinstein’s ongoing criminal case prosecutors have an additional factor to “prove” to the jury: that he’s not a harmless, physically weak, old man.
Moments before opening statements in his landmark criminal trial last week, Harvey Weinstein entered the courtroom hanging onto another man’s arm, looking as if he’d collapse to the ground if left to walk on his own.
Moving slowly with a pronounced limp, the 67-year-old disgraced Hollywood titan was led to the defense table. Other days, he would use a walker to reach his seat.
Weinstein, who is 6’3″ and at one point was over 300 pounds, now looks frail walking into the courtroom. He is charged with raping Jessica Mann, an actress with whom he had an affair over the course of four years, on March 18, 2013.
Harvey Weinstein leaves New York court, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, in New York. The disgraced movie mogul faces allegations of rape and sexual assault. Jury selection begins this week. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Weinstein was involved in a single-car traffic accident in August 2019 and somehow had such debilitating back pain that he had to have spinal decompression surgery by December – despite telling the police officer investigating the wreck that he was uninjured. Anyone who has ever been in a similar situation or knows someone who has been can tell you that time frame is highly suspect. But, it did give him a reason to show up to court hunched over and using a walker.
His arrival look is certainly different from his departure look.
Harvey Weinstein, left, leaves court with attorney Arthur Aidala after attending his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
That wasn’t the expression on his face during Friday’s proceedings when the woman he’s charged with raping described his genitalia from the stand, saying:
“The first time I saw him fully naked, I felt — I thought he was deformed and intersex. He has extreme scarring that I didn’t know if maybe he was a burn victim. He does not have testicles, and it appears like he has a vagina.”
Well, then. Reports say that Weinstein buried his face in his hands as Mann testified about his man…liness. But it gets worse for Harvey. She continued:
“When I first saw him naked, I was filled with compassion, absolute compassion,” she said through tears, adding, “It seemed his anger came from a place of shame.”
Mann also described the texture of blackheads covering Weinstein’s back, and said he smelled like “poop.”
If it weren’t Harvey Weinstein, one would be tempted to feel empathy for someone whose body was described so graphically to the entire world.