Blog

Weinstein's Defense: Sexual Encounters Were Consensual Because They Were Transactional

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Feb 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

The rape trial of Harvey Weinstein has come to a conclusion. Both sides have presented their arguments, leaving it up to a jury to decide whether the powerful film producer abused his power to extract nonconsensual sexual favors from women.

The key component throughout the proceedings has been Weinstein's position of power over the alleged victims. As his defense team pointed out, though, that power imbalance complicates the very concept of consent. While the idea is unpopular, it is nevertheless a disturbing one for pending sex crimes against the rich and powerful.

Weinstein Defense: Sex Was Transactional

The big argument made by the alleged victims of Weinstein's sexual conduct was that he was a powerful man who was well connected and could get things done. That intimidated them, and either kept them quiet about his misconduct or made what appeared to be true consent a mere allusion of cooperation: One of the alleged victims admitted to having a 5-year relationship with Weinstein, and had even invited him to attend a wedding with her.

But Weinstein's defense lawyers turned that idea on its head by arguing that the same power of Weinstein was exactly what made their interactions with him consensual. According to the defense, these women knew that they stood to benefit from “schmoozing” Weinstein, and that undercuts the idea that the sex was not consensual: Instead, it was transactional.

Two Sides to the Fallout from that Defense

Let's imagine that the jury buys that argument – the argument that the women consented to the sexual encounters with Weinstein because they knew or intended to leverage it to their professional advantage in an industry where sexual appeal is an asset.

The initial reaction that nearly everyone will have is that this would insulate the rich and powerful from their sexual exploits and misconduct. Even if they did legitimately rape someone, their very power would be raised to defend against the allegation. They are powerful enough that the alleged victim knew she could get a professional advantage out of the situation, therefore the sex was a part of what would basically be a sex-for-promotion scheme, which had to have been consensual.

That would be disturbing.

But think of the other side of that same coin. If someone's influence always overwhelmed an alleged victim's agency, then powerful people would become targets and people who “sleep to the top” would stand to get even more out of their scheme by holding it over the person they're accusing of misconduct.

Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento

The Weinstein trial is not just a big moment in the #MeToo movement; it could mark a significant decision in what we think of as “consent.” Whether the trial ends with a conviction or an acquittal, we are sure to see the repercussions for awhile.

Joseph D. Lento is a criminal defense lawyer who serves the accused in Philadelphia, including those who have been charged with a sex crime. Call his law office at (215) 535-5353 or contact him online for the legal help you need to defend against these potentially damaging charges.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience fighting for the futures of his clients in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, as well as New Jersey. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being.

Comments

There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today!

footer-2.jpg

Attorney Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the Lento Law Firm today! Criminal defense attorney Joseph D. Lento will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

This website was created only for general information purposes. It is not intended to be construed as legal advice for any situation. Only a direct consultation with a licensed Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York attorney can provide you with formal legal counsel based on the unique details surrounding your situation. The pages on this website may contain links and contact information for third party organizations – the Lento Law Firm does not necessarily endorse these organizations nor the materials contained on their website. In Pennsylvania, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout Pennsylvania's 67 counties, including, but not limited to Philadelphia, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Berks, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Northampton County. In New Jersey, attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New Jersey's 21 counties: Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Salem, Somerset, Sussex, Union, and Warren County, In New York, Attorney Joseph D. Lento represents clients throughout New York's 62 counties. Outside of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, unless attorney Joseph D. Lento is admitted pro hac vice if needed, his assistance may not constitute legal advice or the practice of law. The decision to hire an attorney in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, New Jersey, New York, or nationwide should not be made solely on the strength of an advertisement. We invite you to contact the Lento Law Firm directly to inquire about our specific qualifications and experience. Communicating with the Lento Law Firm by email, phone, or fax does not create an attorney-client relationship. The Lento Law Firm will serve as your official legal counsel upon a formal agreement from both parties. Any information sent to the Lento Law Firm before an attorney-client relationship is made is done on a non-confidential basis.

Menu