In another stunning turn of events in the ongoing Harvey Weinstein saga, the disgraced producer has hired the former lawyers of one of his alleged victims, Rose McGowan, to represent him as he fights sexual assault charges in New York. Weinstein, who stands accused of raping one woman and forcibly performing oral sex on another, fired his high-power lawyer Benjamin Brafman and brought on a number of new lawyers — including Jose Baez and Harvard Law School professor Ronald Sullivan, who both represented McGowan when she recently faced drug charges in Virginia. McGowan pled no contest after authorities allegedly found cocaine in a wallet she lost in Dulles International Airport.
“This is a major conflict of interest, but I knew there was shadiness going on behind the scenes,” McGowan told The Daily Beast. “This is why my case didn’t go to trial — my instinct was my lawyers had been bought off. I thought Harvey would get to them behind the scenes and I wouldn’t have fair representation.”
In court papers, McGowan had claimed that people working for Weinstein could have planted the drugs in the wallet in order to discredit her claims of rape against him. According to sources who spoke with reporter Ronan Farrow, Weinstein knew of the warrant for McGowan’s arrest in Virginia before media did, and may even have been responsible for leaking the news to the press.
Weinstein’s legal shakeup comes a month after a judge refused the Hollywood mogul’s move to have the sexual assault charges against him dismissed. Baez is best known for his successful defense of Casey Anthony, who was controversially acquitted of the murder of her two-year-old daughter. He had also previously worked with Sullivan on the defense of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez.
Read the full story at The Guardian.