Commentary

Harvey Weinstein Trial Will Test #MeToo Reporting

Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial for rape begins on Monday, formalizing a case against the movie mogul that's been tried in the press for more than two years.
The court proceeding is likely to be a media spectacle, with more than 150 reporters obtaining press credentials to cover a trial that will feature testimony from six accusers, including "Sopranos" actor Annabella Sciorra.
The trial likely never would have happened without the enterprising efforts by The New York Times and The New Yorker to publish a story about the alleged crimes by a wealthy and politically well connected movie producer.
Since they first published their bombshell reports in October 2017, more than 80 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of rape or harassment over several decades.
The outcome of the trial is uncertain, with some observers predicting Weinstein may be found not guilty if a jury sufficiently doubts the credibility of his accusers.
Weinstein's lawyers are likely to present evidence to support his repeated denials of allegations of nonconsensual sex.
Regardless of the trial's outcome, I recommend journalists read the personal accounts of the reporters that broke the Weinstein story. NYT reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey provide a gripping account of their Pulitzer Prize-winning work in the book "She Said."
Reporter Ronan Farrow tells the exasperating tale of his ordeal to break the story for NBC News, whose management appeared to buckle under pressure from Weinstein and his lawyers. Farrow brought his reporting to The New Yorker, where editor-in-chief David Remnick recognized a compelling story that needed to be told.
Weinstein has the right to a fair trial, but a guilty verdict against him will help to affirm the efforts by a handful of journalists who overcame the efforts to silence their reporting.

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