Weinstein in court on sex crime charges

Harvey Weinstein revelations and accusations triggered the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment, especially involving people in positions of power. Many women have claimed improper behaviour over decades, and Weinstein was the subject of many.

For the first time, Weinstein has been charged and has appeared in court in New York. This may be the tip of a legal iceberg for him.

Reuters: Movie mogul Weinstein handcuffed in court to face sex crime charges

Film mogul Harvey Weinstein appeared in handcuffs in a New York court on Friday to face charges of rape and other sex crimes against two of the scores of women who have accused him of misconduct, ending his reign as a Hollywood kingpin.

Weinstein, the 66-year-old co-founder of the Miramax film studio and the Weinstein Co, intends to plead not guilty to the two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act, his attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse.

Prosecutors did not identify the two women, but said the crimes took place in 2004 and 2013. If convicted on the most serious charges, Weinstein could face between five and 25 years in prison.

Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women, with some of the cases dating back decades, has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

The accusations, first reported last year by the New York Times and the New Yorker, gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of misconduct.

Weinstein earlier turned himself in at a lower Manhattan police station around 7:25 a.m. EDT (1125 GMT). He carried thick books under his right arm, including what appeared to be biographies of Broadway musical legends Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and Elia Kazan, the director of such classic Hollywood films as “On the Waterfront.”

About 90 minutes later, Weinstein was led by officers into court in handcuffs, grimacing with his head bowed, his books nowhere in sight, to await arraignment.

“This defendant used his position, money and power to lure young women into situations where he was able to violate them sexually,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said at Weinstein’s arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Judge Kevin McGrath ordered Weinstein released on $1 million cash bail. The defendant surrendered his U.S. passport and agreed to wear a monitoring device that tracks his location, confining him to the states of New York and Connecticut.

An irony on the legal privileges of the wealthy:

‘Child indecency charges’ awkward for National

This is a different case to the one so many talk about but no one can mention, but ‘child indecency charges’ will be very awkward for National.

Stuff reports: Cabinet minister’s brother faces sex charges.

A Cabinet minister’s brother is due to appear in court this week on child indecency charges.

The man has been summonsed to appear in the District Court on Tuesday — but the man’s lawyer, high-powered Queen’s Counsel Jonathan Eaton, last night went to the High Court in Christchurch to obtain an injunction stopping the Sunday Star-Times naming the man or the minister concerned

A family member of the sex accused  said the matter was in the hands of defence lawyers.

Yesterday, the accused man’s solicitor John Westgate said it would be “entirely inappropriate” to name the man, as it would undermine his ability to apply for name suppression.

Last night, High Court Justice David Gendall imposed an interim injunction preventing the newspaper naming the accused and the Cabinet minister.

The Sunday Star-Times asked to be heard by the Court but the judge granted the injunction without giving the newspaper’s lawyer that opportunity.

The article tries to liken it to when Carmel Sepuloni’s mother faced charges but there’s no indication whether the Minister  has any responsibilities that could be related to the charges.

Sunday Star Times also narrows the field in their coverage, something media sometimes pushes the boundaries on at times.

This case is at the stage where someone is still just accused, nothing is proven.

On it’s own it may not have caused National too much bother, but with other issues they have had to try and deal with this makes things very awkward for them.

If name suppression is granted then that will increase accusations that suppression is something exploited by prominent New Zealanders.

And there’s one unique aspect – if name suppression is granted then even if justified it would make the standing down of the Minister a tad awkward, as that would give a fairly clear hint as to who might be involved.

Regardless of the severity and the chances of conviction or acquittal this is another awkward issue for National to deal with.

UPDATE: A major blog has already as good as identified the Minister.

Once Were Mana

As previously posted 3 News has revealed that three people associated with convictions or charges for sexual crimes have been employed by Hone Harawira and the Mana Party. One person closely associated with Harawira’s election campaign was arrested for rape of a child under twelve just prior to the election (so it’s at this stage an allegation) but still spoke at Harawira’s election night function.

Harawira is refusing to comment. The convictions, allegation and silence could all be highly damaging to an already severely wounded Mana Party.

In more ways than one this could signal Once were Mana.

Harawira employed his brother Arthur through Parliamentary Services with public funds – he’s spent time in jail for violent offences, including a sexual attack charge laid in 2008.

The Herald reported in 2008 MP stands by brother despite violence charges

Maori Party MP Hone Harawira says serious charges his brother is facing, including indecent assault and kidnapping, will not damage the party’s strong anti-violence campaign.

The Tai Tokerau representative has vowed to stand by 50-year-old Arthur Harawira, who was last week released from custody on charges of assault with intent to injure, wounding with intent to injure, indecent assault, kidnapping and avoiding arrest. Suppression orders have been imposed to protect the alleged victim’s identity.

Harawira said last night he felt sorry for the person involved, but Arthur was his brother. “I can’t condone his actions, but neither will I walk away from my family.”

While one could claim that people who have paid the price for their crimes deserve another chance but alongside the other two cases this doesn’t look flash.

The second case involves Daniel Taylor:

The records show Daniel Taylor was also a casual Mana Party staffer

The records show he was hired by Mana in December 2010 and was jailed in November 2013.

Also from 3 News:

Prominent Far North community figure Daniel Taylor has been sentenced to five years and seven months in prison for sexually abusing young boys.

Taylor, 34, was sentenced in the Whangarei High Court today on nine charges of indecent assault and attempted sexual connection. His minimum non-parole period is two years and 10 months.

The Child, Youth and Family-approved carer pleaded guilty to the charges in September, one month before his trial was due to commence.

He has been in custody since his arrest in November last year after being denied bail on several occasions.

So he was hired by Mana in December 2010 and arrested and remanded in custody in November 2012. There is no indication Harawira knew of any offending before Taylor’s arrest, so this could be nothing more than an unfortunate association with Mana.

One News reported on the third case on Monday: Prominent Maori leader pleads not guilty to raping young girl

A well-known Maori leader in Kaitaia has pleaded not guilty to serious sex charges against a young girl.

65-year-old Patrick Rivers, also known as Mangu Awarau, appeared in Kaitaia District Court charged with raping a girl under 12 and two counts of indecent assault. The court entered a not guilty plea on all charges on Rivers’ behalf.

The charges are historic and are alleged to have occurred during 2009 in Awanui.

Rivers is well known in the Far North and in Maori political circles.

He was out on bail at the time he was filmed with the Mana Party on election night. Two days earlier he had been charged with raping the young girl.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira is a close friend. Mr Harawira declined to comment on their relationship and the nature of the charges when contacted by ONE News.

A Herald profile says he is Harawira’s cousin:

He joined his cousin Hone Harawira, now a Maori Party MP, another cousin Labour list MP Shane Jones, and Maori Language Commission chief executive Haami Piripi in the Maori protest movement.

The charge is still before the courts.

But this combined with the other two who have been convicted is an awful look and Harawira should front up and address it.

Otherwise – Once Were Mana.