Part of the sexual assault charges against former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was dropped on Thursday, after investigators reportedly found some inconsistencies in the statements from one accuser.
A Manhattan judge dropped one of the six charges against him, The New York Times reports. The other five charges, to which Weinstein pleaded not guilty, still stand. Weinstein's attorney previously argued that the grand jury that indicted him didn't see some key emails from aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
Weinstein is out on bail after his arrest and indictment in May. He was charged with a first-degree criminal sex act related to Evans' allegations, as well as other alleged assaults against three other women. He has maintained that he did nothing wrong, and reportedly plans to mount a defense that describes "long-term, consensual, intimate relationships" with those who allege sexual assault.
Though Weinstein's attorneys will likely use the dismissed charge to cast doubt on the rest of the allegations, police spokesman Phillip Walzak said last week that law enforcement "is fully confident in the overall case it has pursued against Mr. Weinstein. The evidence shows that the criminal case against him is strong." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) fancies himself a candidate who says what "a lot of other people don't dare say — but think." Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) disagrees that his views on the #MeToo movement are mainstream.
Cramer is running to unseat Heitkamp in the upcoming midterm elections. His incendiary comments have been a major part of his bid, The New York Times explained Monday, often putting him in direct conflict with other lawmakers. When he said in a recent interview that #MeToo is a "movement toward victimization," Heitkamp offered a sharp rebuke.
The Republican lawmaker disliked "that you're just supposed to believe somebody because they said it happened," and invoked his wife, daughters, and mother to say that they were too "tough" to join in on the "ugly" movement regarding sexual misconduct.
"It's wonderful his mom hasn't" had an experience with sexual assault, said Heitkamp in response to his comments. "My mom did ... and it didn't make her less strong." Heitkamp became emotional in insisting that "it did not make my mom less strong that she was a victim." She chastised Cramer for his dismissal. "To suggest that this movement doesn't make women strong and stronger is really unfortunate," she said.
Heitkamp was reportedly facing pressure to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was confirmed on Saturday. She ultimately decided not to vote in his favor. Cramer said last month that allegations against Kavanaugh are "absurd." Read more at The New York Times. Summer Meza
Surprise, surprise: Bill O'Reilly has a hot take on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly, who settled a sexual misconduct case against him for $32 million in 2016, tweeted on Friday that the "left wing mob" unfairly insists all allegations of sexual assault "must be believed, no matter if the allegations are denied."
Though nobody was clamoring for it, given O'Reilly's own history of sexual harassment allegations, the conservative analyst penned a column detailing his opinion on the accusations against Kavanaugh. "There isn't a man in the country safe from misconduct allegations," he wrote. "Not one."
O'Reilly claimed last year that no one ever complained about his behavior when he worked at Fox News, using the assertion as evidence that he was wrongfully fired from the organization. NBC's Megyn Kelly disputed that, saying she did complain about him when she worked at Fox. But even today, O'Reilly is arguing that "America will become an unjust nation if stuff like this continues." He claimed, despite evidence to the contrary, that most Americans don't believe the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh.
"I never thought I'd see this in my country," he continued, lamenting the "morons" who believe people who come forward with accusations of sexual assault without "due process." Just as O'Reilly raged against God, The New York Times, and liberals over his own firing, he's now furious on Kavanaugh's behalf. "I am angry about it," he wrote. "Very angry." Summer Meza
Las Vegas law enforcement is reopening an investigation into rape allegations against soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, BBC reported Tuesday.
Kathryn Mayorga filed a lawsuit last week against the Portuguese athlete, saying Ronaldo coerced her into signing a settlement and nondisclosure agreement about an alleged sexual assault in 2009, reports CNN. Mayorga alleges that Ronaldo raped her in a Las Vegas hotel room while she repeatedly screamed. The lawsuit describes Ronaldo apologizing immediately after, "stating he was sorry, he was usually a gentleman" and allegedly confirming to his representatives that Mayorga said "no" and "stop."
Ronaldo called the claim "fake news" and threatened to sue a German magazine that reported on Mayorga's allegations. Mayorga reported the incident in 2009, but Las Vegas officials said they had no suspect in the case. "At the time the report was taken, the victim did not provide detectives with the location of the incident or suspect description," the police department said in a statement, noting that the case has been reopened with new details. Mayorga says she was encouraged by police not to publicly name Ronaldo to avoid retaliation.
Mayorga says she received $375,000 for her silence, but is seeking to void the settlement and nondisclosure agreement in order to speak about the alleged assault. "The psychological trauma of the sexual assault, the fear of public humiliation and retaliation, and the reiteration of those fears by law enforcement and medical providers left plaintiff terrified and unable to act or advocate for herself," claims the lawsuit. Read more at CNN. Summer Meza
CNN's Don Lemon said Monday night that his vacation last week was interrupted both by the news of Christine Blasey Ford's attempted rape allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a conversation he had with a family member "extremely close to me" who opened up about being sexually assaulted by a boyfriend. Lemon showed the clip from eight years ago where he spontaneously acknowledged that he had been sexually abused. "In my life, it hasn't mattered if the person was 17 or 70 — the pain and the damage are real, and it never goes away," he said.
"Here's my message then, and now, and today: People aren't always who they present themselves to be in public," Lemon said. "A molester doesn't have an 'M' on their forehead. ... People are tricky characters. Innocent until proven guilty must remain the law of the land, but at the same time, some guilty people do cloak themselves in innocence. Remember, after all, Bill Cosby was 'America's Dad' not so long ago."
Lemon said he doesn't know whether Kavanaugh or his accusers are telling the truth, but as we weigh their stories and why they felt compelled to share them publicly he said, consider carefully: "Are we interested in truth, are we interested in healing, or is there, as there always seems to be these days, a political game being played with people's lives?" And it's not a few lives: Every 98 seconds, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted, and one in six women has been raped or the victim of attempted rape. Watch below. Peter Weber
At least 145 people told investigators about sexual misconduct by former Ohio State University sports doctor Richard Strauss, The Associated Press reported Thursday.
The law firm investigating the claims, Perkins Coie, has interviewed 355 people so far, and 145 of them have provided "firsthand accounts" of wrongdoing. Allegations against Strauss date between 1979 and 1997, involving male athletes from at least 16 different university sports, AP reports. Lawyers have interviewed university administrators, athletics department employees, and health center officials, among others, to piece together information about Strauss' alleged abuse over the decades.
The Department of Education is investigating Ohio State to determine whether the school handled athletes' complaints "promptly and equitably." Some former students say officials knew about the alleged abuse but didn't step in to stop it. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was once the assistant wrestling coach at the university, and several former wrestlers say he knew about the misconduct, which Jordan denies. Strauss died of suicide in 2005, but his family has said they want the investigation to continue to determine the truth. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza
Actor Jimmy Bennett has accused actress Asia Argento of sexually assaulting him in 2013 when he was 17 and she was 37, and in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, said he was too "ashamed and afraid" to speak out sooner.
The New York Times reported on Monday that after Bennett accused Argento of sexual assault, she agreed to pay him $380,000 over two years. Bennett told The Hollywood Reporter he "chose to handle it in private with the person who wronged me. My trauma resurfaced as she came out as a victim herself." In October 2017, Argento said she had been raped by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein, and she became a vocal leader in the #MeToo movement.
Bennett and Argento first met in 2004, when he starred as her son in the film The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. In his statement, Bennett said he "didn't think that people would understand the event that took place from the eyes of a teenage boy," and he believed there was "still a stigma to being in the situation as a male in our society." Argento has denied any wrongdoing, and said Bennett was "undergoing severe economic problems" when he "unexpectedly made an exorbitant request of money from me." She said it was her late boyfriend Anthony Bourdain's idea to pay Bennett off. Catherine Garcia
In November 2017, a month after The New Yorker published its bombshell exposé of Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual predation, actor and musician Jimmy Bennett contacted one of Weinstein's accusers, Italian actress and director Asia Argento, through a lawyer, asking for $3.5 million in damages related to a traumatizing sexual encounter in 2013, The New York Times reports, citing documents related to legal a settlement. Argento agreed to pay Bennett $380,000 over two years. Bennett was 17 and Argento was 37 when they had sex in her hotel room in California, the documents say. The age of consent in California is 18.
After accusing Weinstein of raping her, Argento became a prominent voice in the #MeToo movement.
Bennett, who started acting at age 6, was cast as Argento's son in a 2004 movie, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, when he was 7, and they stayed in intermittent contact. "Jimmy's impression of this situation was that a mother-son relationship had blossomed from their experience on set together," his lawyer, Gordon Sattro, wrote in the notice of intent to sue. The documents, including a May 2013 selfie of Argento and Bennett in bed, were sent to the Times by an unidentified party via encrypted emails.
The agreement did not include a nondisclosure clause, as California state law doesn't allow them and Argento declined to get around that by using a New York lawyer, "because you felt it was inconsistent with the public messages you've conveyed about the societal perils of nondisclosure agreements," her lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, wrote to Argento. "Bennett could theoretically tell people his claims against you," though "he is not permitted to bother you for more money, disparage you, or sue." Argento did not respond to numerous requests for a response, directly and through multiple representatives, the Times notes, and Bennett declined to be interviewed via his lawyer. Peter Weber