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Weinstein Sex Trafficking Charges Survive Motion to Dismiss

January 8, 2019

Harvey Weinstein must face charges of violating sex trafficking laws filed by a British actress who says the former movie producer invited her to a hotel room in France before sexually assaulting her, a US judge has ruled. Mr. Weinstein is also facing criminal rape and sexual misconduct charges in Manhattan over allegations made by three other women. Those charges are separate from the lawsuit filed by Ms. Noble.  Mr Weinstein has denied ever having non-consensual sex during his time working as a movie producer.

The Manhattan judge denied Mr. Weinstein’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed last year by the actress Kadian Noble.  The US district judge said the case must stand even though it was “not an archetypal sex trafficking action” because “the allegations plausibly establish” that Mr. Weinstein may have violated the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer, may appeal the US District Judge’s decision on the basis that these claims are not legally or factually supported, and ultimately will not be sustained. It is argued that the case should be dismissed because sex trafficking law was meant to target “commercial” sex, which they say is not the case in the alleged Weinstein-Noble encounter as no payment was offered. It is further contended that the case could open up the floodgates, and would make the law cover “all sexual activity occurring between adults in which one party holds a superior position of power and influence”.

The judge’s decision is the latest in potentially criminal legal headaches for Mr. Weinstein, who has been accused by more than 70 women of sexual misconduct, including rape, in accusations that date back decades.

We consider that the rulings, interpretations and opinions do constitute a body of experience and informed judgment to which courts and litigants may properly resort for guidance. The weight of such a judgment in a particular case will depend upon the thoroughness evident in its consideration, the validity of its reasoning, its consistency with earlier and later pronouncements, and all those factors which give it power to persuade, if lacking power to control.  Also a defendant is guilty of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion if he knowingly in or affecting interstae or foreign commerce recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, obtains, advertises, maintains, patronizes, or solicits by any means a person knowing that means of force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act.  A commercial sex act is any such that in which anything of value is given or received by any person, the court noted. It must, at its core, have an economic component and be economic in nature. The expansive language, again, required a “liberal reading,”.

The Law Offices of Michael H. Joseph