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Matt Hancock says he will stand for Tory leadership

Health secretary throws his hat into ring as Rory Stewart rules out serving in a Boris Johnson cabinet

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has become the latest cabinet minister to declare he will stand for the Tory leadership after Theresa May’s resignation.

“Yes. I’m going to run to be the next prime minister,” Hancock told the BBC on Saturday morning. He promised to be “the servant of parliament” in delivering a Brexit deal – a conundrum that destroyed May’s leadership.

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South Korea Has Second Most Coronavirus Cases After China, President Says Country Faces 'Grave Turning Point'
"The next few days will be crucial. The government will raise the alert level to the highest level of 'grave' according to experts' recommendations and drastically strengthen our response system," South Korean President Moon Jae-in said.
9 m
newsweek.com
DJ Calvin Harris gets what he paid for Hollywood Hills home
Scottish deejay Calvin Harris has sold his modern Hollywood Hills home for $7 million, the same price he paid for it in 2013.
latimes.com
Reports: Former Ohio State star Chase Young to skip drills at NFL scouting combine
Former Ohio State star Chase Young, a likely top pick, will not be participating in drills portion of the NFL scouting combine, according to reports.      
usatoday.com
Protests erupt in India over citizenship law as Trump tours Taj Mahal, prepares for talks
India might have rolled out the red carpet for President Trump's Monday visit, but the massive rally, hundreds of cheerleaders and weeks of preparation glossed over one of the largest civil disputes that's gripped the country in years. 
foxnews.com
Health insurer shares pummeled by Sanders surge, virus worries
As concerns over the spreading coronavirus outbreak hammered U.S. stocks, one corner of the market was confronted with another potentially game-changing prospect: a Bernie Sanders nomination.
reuters.com
The charges in the Harvey Weinstein verdict, explained
Harvey Weinstein enters court as a jury deliberated in his trial on February 24, 2020, in New York City. | Spencer Platt/Getty Images He was convicted of rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act in the first degree. Here’s what that means. At his trial in New York, producer Harvey Weinstein faced five charges in connection with allegations that he raped or sexually assaulted women. On Monday, he was convicted of two of those charges: rape in the third degree and a criminal sexual act. Because laws around sex crimes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, charges like these can be confusing. To understand them, it’s helpful to look at all the charges filed against Weinstein in the case, and the testimony behind each of them. Weinstein was charged on these five counts in his New York trial Rape in the first degree: Under New York law, this is the most serious rape charge. According to the state’s penal code, a person is guilty of rape in the first degree if they engage “in sexual intercourse with another person” by “forcible compulsion” or if the victim is “incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless” (a person may also be guilty of this crime if they sexually assault a child, which was not alleged in the Weinstein trial). Under New York law, forcible compulsion means compelling someone “by the use of physical force” or “by a threat, express or implied, which places a person in fear of immediate death or physical injury to himself or herself [or another person] or in fear that he or she [or another person] will immediately be kidnapped.” Weinstein was charged with rape in the first degree in connection with Jessica Mann’s testimony that he raped her in 2013. Mann said that Weinstein trapped her in a hotel room, holding the door shut, then ordered her to undress and raped her. “I gave up at that point,” she said, according to the New York Times. Weinstein was acquitted of this charge. Rape in the third degree: In New York, a person is guilty of this crime if they engage “in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent.” This charge does not require prosecutors to prove “forcible compulsion” on the part of the defendant or that the victim was “physically helpless” at the time. In addition to the first-degree rape charge, Weinstein was charged with third-degree rape in connection with testimony by Jessica Mann. He was convicted of this charge. That means that according to the jury, the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Mann had not consented to what happened in 2013, but not that there was “forcible compulsion” involved. Criminal sexual act in the first degree: In New York, the crime of a “criminal sexual act” refers to nonconsensual oral or anal sex. A person is guilty of a criminal sexual act in the first degree if they engage “in oral sexual conduct or anal sexual conduct” by “forcible compulsion.” Weinstein was charged with this count in connection with testimony by Miriam Haley. Haley testified that on a visit to his apartment in 2006, Weinstein pushed her with his body into a bedroom until she fell on the bed. “I tried to get up, and he pushed me down repeatedly, by that time I started realizing what was happening … that this was rape,” she testified, according to BuzzFeed. Haley said that Weinstein ultimately performed oral sex on her without her consent. The producer was convicted on this count, meaning the jury felt that the prosecution had proved forcible compulsion in his assault on Haley. Predatory sexual assault: In New York, a person is guilty of this crime if they commit first-degree rape or criminal sexual act, and have engaged in other conduct that would constitute such crimes in the past, even if they were not charged or convicted. Essentially, to prove this charge, prosecutors have to show that the defendant had a history of committing a sex crime against at least one other person, in addition to the primary victim. (There are also other reasons someone can be charged with predatory sexual assault, such as if they seriously injured a victim physically, but these were not at issue in Weinstein’s trial.) To prove this in Weinstein’s case, prosecutors called to the stand Annabella Sciorra, who said that Weinstein raped her in the 1990s. According to the Times, she testified that Weinstein showed up at her apartment and pushed his way inside. Then he unbuttoned his shirt, pushed her onto her bed, pinned her arms above her head, and raped her. “My body shut down,” she said, and she lost consciousness. But jurors apparently did not feel that prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Weinstein raped Sciorra. They voted to acquit Weinstein on two predatory sexual assault charges (one in connection with Sciorra and Haley’s allegations, and one in connection with Sciorra and Mann’s). The language of the law around sex crimes can be confusing, and as law professor Cheryl Bader told Vox last week, terms like “consent” and “forcible compulsion” aren’t necessarily clearly defined. Moreover, Americans’ understanding of consent is still evolving, especially with the rise of the Me Too movement — a movement itself propelled to prominence in part by the allegations against Weinstein. Still, what we can glean from the verdict against Weinstein is that the jury was convinced that the producer was guilty of nonconsensual conduct with Mann, but not necessarily that he used force as part of that conduct. Now that he has been convicted, Weinstein faces a minimum of five years in prison on the criminal sexual assault charge and a minimum of probation in the third-degree rape charge. He will be sentenced on March 11.
vox.com
Ryanair CEO under fire for comments about Muslim men; airline blames 'inaccurate headlines'
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is apologizing after recent comments he made about Muslim men prompted extreme backlash.
foxnews.com
Severino: Trump's reshaping of ‘Ninth Circus’ appeals court has stopped a lot of 'liberal judicial activism'
President Trump has reshaped the “notoriously liberal” U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, according to Carrie Severino, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network's chief counsel and policy director, who noted it was often referred to as the “Ninth Circus.”
foxnews.com
Maduro’s government hires a new Washington lawyer
K Street prepares for Sanders — NFIB taps new president
politico.com
Harvey Weinstein verdict dispels the myth of the perfect rape victim
Harvey Weinstein’s victims, and those who believe them, finally got their Hollywood ending. On Monday, after nearly a week of deliberations, the jury returned their verdict: Guilty on two counts, rape and a criminal sex act. Weinstein, who spent his evenings and weekends throughout the trial partying, his days bantering with press and ignoring admonitions...
nypost.com
What is Elizabeth Warren's end game?
With Bernie Sanders emerging as the clear favorite to be the Democratic presidential nominee, Elizabeth Warren has trained her fire on -- wait, Michael Bloomberg?
edition.cnn.com
Artist Alexandra Grant discusses beauty, patriarchy and what her godmother taught her
Grant chatted with Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow during a "no makeup" dinner, which made headlines last week.
latimes.com
The White House’s sleight of hand on Russia’s 2020 efforts
National security adviser Robert O'Brien and top White House aide Marc Short argued this weekend that Russia wants Sanders over Trump. Their logic and evidence leave plenty to be desired.
washingtonpost.com
Investors eye bleach, food and tissues as virus fears intensify
While Wall Street's broader indexes fell sharply on Monday on concerns about coronavirus, investors turned to some consumer companies as they bet on stock-piling of products such as disinfectants and shelf-stable foods.
reuters.com
How swing voters feel about Medicare-for-all
Sen. Bernie Sanders at an event to introduce the “Medicare for All Act of 2019.” | Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images The case for not worrying about Medicare-for-all’s electability. Insert all caveats about the unpredictability of politics here, but it sure looks as though Bernie Sanders and Medicare-for-all could be on the ballot against Donald Trump in November. It’s an experiment our democracy has never run before: an avowed democratic socialist on top of a major-party ticket, running on a single-payer program that would fundamentally transform American health care. Nobody knows what the results would be. The politics of Medicare-for-all will be debated endlessly for the rest of the year, should Sanders secure the nomination. But there are a bunch of open questions we don’t yet know the answers to. How much will Trump’s campaign focus on health care, given his own record? It has millions to spend on a negative ad campaign, but it will need to pick its message. Will Sanders moderate himself at all? I took note of his campaign promising that a Medicare-for-all bill would be introduced during the first week of his presidency, which is not the same thing as pledging such a bill would actually be passed and become law. I did my best to sort through all the evidence in this story. In short, Medicare-for-all is working for Sanders in the primary because, well, Democratic voters generally support replacing private insurance with a single government plan. It is that simple. “It is a winner for Bernie because it is part of his brand and it feels authentic coming from him,” Ashley Kirzinger, who helps run the polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me. “I mean, he is the reason why we are discussing it and it has been front and center during the Democratic campaign.” As for the general election, we just don’t know how the issue would play; there is evidence to make the case Medicare-for-all would be a winner, a loser or a net neutral. We do know opinions can be moved on the issue: higher approval if you tell people there will be no cost-sharing, much lower approval if you tell them that their taxes will go up. But all of that analysis kind of misses the forest for the frees. Are voters actually going to be using Medicare-for-all to decide which candidate they should vote for in the general election? And even if they do, is it a definitive advantage for either side? That’s why I wanted to draw your attention to something you might have missed if you didn’t read to the very end of the story above. It suggests to me that maybe, just maybe, all this consternation about Medicare-for-all sinking Sanders against Trump is a little bit overblown. It’s a rather unique set of survey data, asking swing voters what would actually sway their vote. Over a couple of months last summer, the Kaiser Family Foundation gathered responses from 605 swing voters, a nationally representative sample. (Margin of error is 5 percentage points for the whole group.) They asked them whether Trump’s position or the Democratic candidate’s position on health care would make them more likely to vote for that person. Here are the findings most relevant to our discussion: Overall, 32 percent said health care made them more likely to support Trump; 50 percent said health care is what would make them more likely to vote for the Democratic candidate. 12 percent of those who went with the president because of health care said Trump’s opposition to “national health care/single-payer/Medicare-for-all/socialism” is why they were more likely to vote for him. 9 percent who sided with Democrats on health care said support for Medicare-for-all explained their decision. If you broaden the issue to “increasing health insurance coverage,” 44 percent of those respondents said that is the reason they would back the Democrats. This is not dispositive. It’s one poll; the samples get pretty small once you are looking at, for example, voters who support Trump because of health care. And these results are from last summer; things could look different after the general election ad blitz. But taken together, the results give good reason to think Medicare-for-all is more of a wash electorally than the discourse might lead you to believe. Narrowly, on Medicare-for-all itself, about as many people back Democrats over it as oppose them. But really, the most telling thing to me is people don’t prioritize Medicare-for-all when they think about health care. The top reason given for supporting Trump because of the issue was “lowering the amount people pay for health care.” For Democrats, it was broadly “increasing health insurance coverage.” Americans have a lot of frustrations with health care, and they want fixes. They don’t think about this ideologically. They want to know how you will make sure people are covered and how you will lower their costs. My bet would be the candidate who speaks to those concerns will win the health care debate in the upcoming campaign. This story appears in VoxCare, a newsletter from Vox on the latest twists and turns in America’s health care debate. Sign up to get VoxCare in your inboxalong with more health care stats and news. Join the conversation Are you interested in more discussions around health care policy? Join our Facebook community for conversation and updates.
vox.com
Seventh Italian dies from coronavirus in Europe's worst flare-up
The death toll in Europe's largest coronavirus outbreak rose to seven on Monday and new cases climbed above 220 as Italy shut down much of its wealthy north to curb the disease's spread.
reuters.com
Would you pay $1,495 for a ticket to Tyra Banks’ ModelLand theme park?
That'll buy you a "Fantascene Dream" pass, complete with a makeover, professional photoshoot and something called a "ModelLand elixir."
nypost.com
Vanessa Bryant's memorial message to Kobe: 'Babe, you take care of our Gigi'
edition.cnn.com
2020 Ford owners can share data with Nationwide to reduce insurance rates
On your side...in the car!
foxnews.com
11-year-old girl brings AR-15 to hearing on gun legislation
An 11-year-old girl toting a loaded AR-15 assault weapon appeared Monday with her grandfather, who is supporting legislation that would allow visitors to Idaho who can legally possess firearms to carry a concealed handgun within city limits
abcnews.go.com
I Want to Marry the Woman I Pay to Have Sex With Me
I know better, but ...
slate.com
Trump’s Lackeys Now Pose a Grave National Security Threat
The hacks recently appointed to key posts are likely to twist intelligence just to keep the president from getting angry.
slate.com
Vegan version of Cadbury chocolate reportedly in works
Maker of classic candy will only admit it's "very aware of" vegan trend and is working on "more great-tasting choices."
cbsnews.com
U.S. CDC confirms 53 coronavirus cases, including repatriated citizens
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday there were 14 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the country, apart from the 39 cases among those evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and the city of Wuhan in China.
reuters.com
World must avert 'dramatic' effects of coronavirus on health, economy: U.N.'s Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday urged countries to prevent the novel coronavirus epidemic from spiraling into a crisis with "dramatic consequences" for global health and the world economy.
reuters.com
Katie Holmes sells Calabasas home for about $4 million
Actress-model Katie Holmes has sold a Calabasas home for a little over $4.01 million.
latimes.com
What is skin cancer? How to spot the signs and when to seek help
What is skin cancer?
foxnews.com
Julian Assange Extradition Hearing Begins In London
The U.S. government wants the WikiLeaks co-founder to face 18 charges related to illegally obtaining and disclosing classified data. Assange's lawyers argue that the case is politically motivated.
npr.org
Harvey Weinstein verdict: The case now moves to Los Angeles
While the New York chapter of Harvey Weinstein's criminal prosecution is over, pending an appeal and sentencing, the legal saga will soon move to L.A.
latimes.com
Sweeping closures in Italian towns as coronavirus cases rise
Italy is scrambling to contain Europe's largest outbreak of the novel coronavirus, with more than 200 cases confirmed and several dead.
edition.cnn.com
Gaza-Israel hostilities flare through second day with rocket attacks, air strikes
Gaza militants on Monday fired rockets toward Israel, which responded with air strikes, in the second day of an escalation that ebbed but did not come to an end despite the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad announcing a halt to its attacks.
reuters.com
Watch as grim-faced jurors leave court after Harvey Weinstein conviction
The jurors kept their heads down and did not answer media questions.
nypost.com
Metallica cancels two headlining shows so frontman James Hetfield can 'get and stay healthy'
Metallica canceled their headlining performances at Sonic Tempe and Louder Than Life festivals so singer James Hetfield can continue his recovery.        
usatoday.com
Kansas back atop Top 25 as Baylor slides to No. 2 after loss
Kansas is back on top of the college basketball world after knocking off Baylor in a matchup of Big 12 heavyweights, while the Bears dropped to No. 2 in the AP men's poll Monday after their nip-and-tuck loss in Waco.
foxnews.com
Diamond Princess coronavirus quarantine was 'not perfect,' Japanese health officials say
Some medical experts who helped on the ship have said the quarantine was poorly managed.
foxnews.com
Will Smith transforms into Venus and Serena’s dad for biopic and more star snaps
Will Smith films the Richard Williams biopic, a shirtless KJ Apa goes for a hike in LA and more...
nypost.com
Vanessa Bryant remembers husband Kobe, daughter Gianna during LA memorial
Dressed in all black, Bryant spoke first about daughter Gianna, at points sniffling and choking back tears, but moving forward with resolve.
nypost.com
Religious mom exposed as sexual predator who later harassed victims online
A religious mother had a secret past as a “sexual predator” and used fake Facebook accounts to troll one of her victims, a court heard. Selina Sharafi, 37, abused two youngsters when she was a child herself during a game of “princes and princesses.” Jurors had found the mature student guilty of five offenses of...
nypost.com
Anne Milgram: Weinstein a 'landmark case'
Former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram says the conviction of Harvey Weinstein will give victims "hope that there is justice in the courts."
edition.cnn.com
Gilead Sciences drug may help treat coronavirus symptoms, according to WHO
Shares of American biotech firm Gilead Sciences rose 3% Monday after an official from the World Health Organization said that Gilead's drug remdesivir is showing signs that it may be able to help treat the deadly coronavirus.
edition.cnn.com
Julian Assange shouldn't be extradited until US returns Harry Dunn's alleged killer to UK: family spokesman
The family of Harry Dunn is now calling for the United Kingdom to block the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
foxnews.com
Weinstein witness attorney: a 'big victory'
Attorney Douglas Wigdor, whose client testified for the prosecution in the case against Harvey Weinstein, says the disgraced movie mogul may face 'a life sentence.'
edition.cnn.com
Italy warns people not to panic-buy as coronavirus cases rise in north
Italy was racing Monday to contain the first major outbreak of a deadly new coronavirus in Europe, prompting fears that the international community losing the battle to prevent the virus from becoming a full-scale pandemic.
edition.cnn.com
Jeter says Astros scandal is a 'black eye' for baseball
Derek Jeter wishes baseball could change the subject.
foxnews.com
Beyoncé kicks off Kobe Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles
Pop superstar Beyoncé opened Kobe Bryant’s memorial service in Los Angeles with an emotional rendition of her hit song “XO” — one of the hoops legend’s favorites. “I’m here because I love Kobe, and this was one of his favorite songs,” the Grammy-winning songstress said to open the 20,000-strong memorial at LA’s Staples Center. “XO”...
nypost.com
The Rarest of Rare Things: A Rape Conviction
A jury has convicted the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, who had the starring role of villain in the #MeToo movement, of sexually assaulting two women. He was acquitted of the most serious charge, predatory criminal assault.“This is an absolutely stunning day,” says Jane Manning, a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Queens, New York. “This man used all his wealth and all his power to buy himself impunity, and today, that impunity ended.”Weinstein faces at least five years in prison for raping Jessica Mann, an aspiring actor, in a Manhattan hotel room on March 18, 2013. The jury also found that he forced Miriam Haleyi, a former production assistant, to have oral sex at his home on July 10, 2006. His lawyers have already said they plan to appeal “immediately.”In so many respects, this case was an outlier—because of Weinstein’s fame, the publicity surrounding the case, and, more than anything else, the sheer number of accusations that brought Weinstein into the courtroom. More than 90 women accused him of misconduct ranging from noncriminal harassment to forcible rape. Yet prosecutors brought charges on behalf of only two women.[Barbara Bradley Hagerty: American law does not take rape seriously]This is a story sex-crimes prosecutors know all too well: How the flood of victims becomes a trickle of convictions. Despite the guilty the verdict, the Weinstein trial is also, in a way, a warning to victims, illustrating the extreme difficulty of prosecuting men for sexual assault. Perhaps most significant, the Weinstein case provides a preview of prosecutions to come in the #MeToo era.If it weren’t about him, Harvey Weinstein might have picked up this script: a powerful movie producer, famous actors and aspiring ones, meetings in luxury hotels, even an Israeli investigative company spying on journalists and alleged victims. But take away the glamour, and you have something so very ordinary: allegations about power and control. Pick your institution—the military, a church, a corporation—and you can find a breeding ground for abuse, says Roger Canaff, a lawyer who has prosecuted sex crimes in Virginia and New York. “There are thousands and thousands and thousands, maybe millions, of perpetrators out there who are using influence in a very similar way to Weinstein,” Canaff told me. “This case is not at all uncommon. The only thing that makes it unique is his celebrity and the fact that the industry that he’s in is so present in the public mind.”Weinstein’s case is a “microcosm of what happens in rape cases more generally,” says Manning, who directs the Women’s Equal Justice Project. “Only a small number of reports result in an arrest. Only a small number of arrests result in a prosecution. Only a small number of prosecutions result in a conviction. The big picture of rape and society now is that only a tiny fraction of rapists will ever be brought to justice.”After a woman is assaulted, she faces a series of ever taller hurdles before she might see her assailant arrested and prosecuted, much less punished. Sometimes the decision about whether to press charges is made for her: The statute of limitations has passed, or the misconduct did not rise to the level of a crime. Many of Weinstein’s accusers, such as the Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, were barred from going forward for reasons like these.The First Hurdle: In the Quiet of Her MindBut before those statutory hurdles become relevant, the first, emotionally fraught question presents itself. Should she call 911 and tell her story?This one decision could upend her life, starting her on a path that might expose her worst or most terrifying moments to the world, and force her to relive them day after day. “It’s a very daunting and a very personal decision,” says Jane Anderson, a former sex-crimes prosecutor who now works for Aequitas, a group that advises prosecutors on sexual-assault cases. And by law, the odds are against her: “The system isn’t designed to support victims. The system is designed to provide defendants with their constitutional rights.”Three out of four women never report an assault, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, or RAINN. Of Weinstein’s alleged victims, as far as we know, all but one of them stayed silent until news stories revealed his purported pattern of abuse in 2017. One victim told The New York Times that she’d considered working with the police but ultimately declined. Her allegation—that Weinstein had invited her to his office to discuss a script, then forcibly performed oral sex—fell within the statute of limitations. But her lawyer warned her that if she reported Weinstein, he would hire private investigators to dig into her life and look for anything to discredit her. Her personal history, her emails with Weinstein—everything would become public. She decided it wasn’t worth it.“You can think of it as kind of a cost-benefit analysis,” says Deborah Tuerkheimer, an expert on rape law at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law and a former sex-crimes prosecutor in Manhattan. Victims think they won’t be believed. They think they’ll be blamed. They blame themselves. They worry that the man, or the publicity, will destroy their professional or personal life. All of these concerns made for a sort of running commentary for several women who were allegedly harassed by Weinstein: Did they misread signals, ignore the obvious red flags when agreeing to a “meeting” in his hotel suite, gullibly buy his claim that sex was the currency of Hollywood, or at least Miramax?[Read: The Weinstein trial and the lies of due process]Paradoxically, the very pattern that undermined the women’s chances of proving assault also makes their allegations ring true to experts like Canaff. “Once the trap snaps shut, and he was in a bathrobe, and they were behind closed doors, that’s when he would execute,” Canaff said. “I’m sure that Weinstein knew by that time the victim’s credibility has already been compromised.” As to their careers, Weinstein did exact revenge on those who rejected him, including the actors Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, spreading the word that they were “difficult.” Victims weigh these sorts of considerations against the slim chance of conviction, Tuerkheimer told me. “If it’s very unlikely that anything is going to happen with the case, but it’s probable that there will be negative consequences to coming forward—then why bother?”The Second Hurdle: The Police DepartmentIf a woman does overcome her fears and reports the assault to police, 80 percent of the time the police do not make an arrest. Police and researchers say they are eager to investigate “real rapes” of “righteous victims,” such as a woman assaulted by a stranger in an alley at gunpoint. But acquaintance rape, which accounts for more than three quarters of all assaults, rarely passes muster with detectives, says Rebecca Campbell, a psychology professor at Michigan State University. Campbell, who has analyzed more than 2,000 police reports and interviewed some 250 victims, told me that detectives frequently discourage women from cooperating with an investigation.In practice, what this looks like, Campbell said, is that detectives paint a “grizzly picture” of what lies ahead, from an intrusive investigation to a brutal trial. “Sometimes police tell them, ‘Listen, you’re not going to survive cross-examination. This isn’t going to go well for you. I don’t believe you; nobody’s going to believe you,’” Campbell said, describing a problem I have previously reported on for The Atlantic. She says police frequently advise a woman that she will be prosecuted if any part of her allegation doesn’t hold up. One victim told Campbell that the detective on her case issued his warning before he had told her his name. “Literally first thing was the warning ‘If you tell me anything—anything—that is not true, we will prosecute you to the fullest extent possible under the law.’” The victim, unsurprisingly, opted not to file a complaint.In the past few years, following scandals about untested rape kits, some police departments have steered more money and detectives toward investigating rape allegations. Still, navigating the conflicting accounts of a crime—which in many cases no one other than the victim and the perpetrator has witnessed—takes time and finesse and offers no guaranteed payoff for understaffed police departments. So detectives hazard a guess about the future in what’s called the “downstream problem.” What evidence will be needed to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt? If there’s forensic evidence, if the victim appears credible, if the suspect has a criminal record—great. Otherwise, Campbell said, police move on to the next case.This is one area where the case of Harvey Weinstein appears to depart from the script. NYPD detectives did believe at least two women who came forward. Then those women hurtled into another barrier: the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.The Third Hurdle: The DA’s OfficeIn March 2015, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez brought New York police an explosive tale: The Filipina Italian model had just been with Harvey Weinstein for a business meeting at his office, where he lunged at her and groped her. The next night, police put a wire on her and sent her off to meet with Weinstein at a hotel. As Weinstein tried to steer her to his room, over her frantic protests, he apologized, on tape, for groping her the night before. Police were thrilled: It seemed to be a confession. But before Weinstein could be charged, the District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not press charges; prosecutors said there were discrepancies in Gutierrez’s account about an earlier alleged sexual assault in Italy. The NYPD was furious. “There was a ton of corroborating evidence,” Jane Manning says. “That should have been a slam-dunk case. But instead the DA’s office chose to put her on trial and find her unworthy of belief without ever scrutinizing the background of the offender.”Two years later, after The New Yorker and The New York Times published reports alleging that Weinstein had assaulted many other women, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office defended its decision. The audio from the sting operation was “insufficient to prove a crime under New York law.” That, “coupled with other proof issues,” meant the office could not bring charges. “If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein,” the statement said, “we would have.”[Read: ‘The Assistant’ and the messes women clean up]In 2018, New York police saw another chance to bring the movie producer to account. In the summer of 2004, when Lucia Evans (then Stoller) was about to start her senior year at Middlebury College, Weinstein approached her at a club and invited her to his office to discuss possible acting roles. After mentioning Project Runway and two movies, she says he forced her to give him oral sex. She did not report it then, but after her story appeared in The New Yorker more than a decade later, detectives tracked her down. They urged her to cooperate: She offered the best hope of finally stopping Weinstein, they said. Evans agreed, and the DA’s office charged him with assaulting her and another, then-unnamed woman. Weeks later, without informing her in advance, the DA’s office withdrew her charge, saying that a friend claimed Evans had given the producer sex for the prospect of a job. Evans categorically denies this.This scenario, in which police arrest a suspect (even years later) but prosecutors decline to take him to trial, is not an outlier to the general practice, something happening solely because of Weinstein’s fame and power. This is far more likely than not. Part of the reason comes down to differing legal standards. Police need only probable cause for an arrest; prosecutors must gather enough evidence to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecutors know that juries consider intangibles—not just evidence about the man’s actions but also the woman’s credibility, sexual history, and character. This “convictability standard” governs a prosecutor’s decisions from the day she receives a case.That’s understandable, but it skirts the deeper issue. Sure, Gutierrez’s and Evans’s allegations are messy—but that’s true of virtually all acquaintance-rape allegations. When the accused and accuser know each other, the case can be riddled with contradictions and confusing dynamics. Was the sex consensual—did both parties got what they were looking for? (Weinstein got sex and the would-be actor got the promise of a movie career.) Or was it assault—did Weinstein wield his influence more skillfully than any stranger could brandish a knife in an alley? As Weinstein’s attorney Donna Rotunno put it: “They didn’t look at Harvey and say, ‘Oh my god, he’s the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen and I want to go to his hotel room.’ They looked at Harvey and said, ‘Harvey can do something for me.’ And so who was using who?”The Fourth Hurdle: The CourtroomAnd then there were two. When the trial opened in January, Weinstein faced only Miriam Haleyi and Jessica Mann. Prosecutors introduced Annabella Sciorra as another witness. She claimed that Weinstein raped her in her home in the winter of 1993–94. Her allegation is too old to be prosecuted as a separate charge, but it was used to support two counts of predatory sexual assault, which carries a life sentence. Three other women testified to demonstrate that Weinstein had a history of abuse. Ultimately, the jury did not convict him of the predatory charge.Outside the courtroom, Weinstein has been tried and found wanting. But inside, the women were on trial. At times, Mann sat sobbing, unable to speak at times, folding herself over in the witness chair to hide her face. In her cross-examination, Rotunno tried to pick apart Mann’s allegations. If Weinstein raped her, why did Mann eat breakfast with him the next morning; send him breezy, flirtatious emails for several years; try to introduce him to her mother; have an ongoing relationship with him for years, which included some consensual sex acts?There are many reasons she, or any other alleged rape victim, would remain in touch with her abuser: she was worried about her career, she saw him at social events, she depended on him emotionally. She considered him a “pseudo father,” she testified. “He gave me all the validation I needed.”If you hope to get a conviction, Tuerkheimer, the former prosecutor, told me, you have to somehow convey to the jury that this is a relationship characterized by power and control. “There was a sense that he controlled her world,” Tuerkheimer said of Mann. “From the outside, that testimony seems incredible. In order to get that testimony to make sense and to cohere, you really have to provide the jury with context. That’s the only way that the behavior of the woman and the case is going to make any sense.” In the end, the prosecutors seem to have succeeded at that.As expected, the Weinstein trial laid bare—and frequently distorted—each woman’s sexual history and personal flaws.This is the adversarial system at work, of course, but it also demonstrates why so few women have been willing to come forward and accuse a boss, a friend, an acquaintance in this most public of forums.The Fifth Hurdle: The Jury RoomWhen jurors retreat to decide a defendant’s fate, they carry with them all their life experience, their predilections and intuitions, as well as their recall of the evidence. The “rape myth” dictates that any evidence that the woman consented, any whiff of an ongoing relationship, should lead to an acquittal. For generations, this has meant that prosecutors shied away from complicated cases, and women kept abuse to themselves, allowing their abuser to continue undeterred.Yet the #MeToo movement has created another story line, one in which women have finally revealed that they were assaulted by people they knew. Jurors in the future, if not the present, will bring that narrative into the jury room as well.In that sense, the Weinstein trial marks a turning point. “We may be on the cusp of kind of a new era of sex-crimes prosecution,” Tuerkheimer told me. Women whose cases would have been rejected in the past, not because the assault didn’t happen but because it was too complicated to explain, may start to see justice. “Maybe we’re willing to look at those kinds of cases anew,” Tuerkheimer said, “and we’re willing to believe that juries might credit the testimony of ‘imperfect victims.’ Because there is no perfect victim.”
theatlantic.com
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