The trial of Harvey Weinstein, the monstrous movie mogul whose alleged pattern of sexual predation helped launch the #MeToo movement, kicked off on Monday.
As The Daily Beast’s Pilar Melendez reported, “Weinstein arrived at Manhattan Supreme Court using a walker for the start of his long-awaited rape trial. The disgraced mogul faces five charges, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, for allegedly performing a sex act on his former production assistant in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013.”
More than 80 women—including a number of A-list actresses, from Gwyneth Paltrow to Lupita Nyong’o—have come forward to accuse the former Miramax and Weinstein Company producer of sexual harassment and/or assault. So on Wednesday, Trevor Noah welcomed one of the journalists who helped expose Weinstein, Ronan Farrow, to The Daily Show to discuss the trial.
“Do you think the Harvey Weinstein trial is going to go in the direction that the public hopes, or is he powerful enough to somehow escape again?” asked Noah.
“Look, I wind up saying this a lot: I am a reporter, not an activist. I hope that Harvey Weinstein receives a fair trial—that means a prosecution being tough, the process being organized, and respected, and not manipulated in a way that powerful people are so often able to manipulate those processes,” Farrow replied. “A large part of the reporting in this book [Catch and Kill] is about how Harvey Weinstein narrowly evaded previous attempts to charge him because he was able to hire armies of private investigators to dig up dirt on his accusers, and smear them, and influence the DA’s office. This very DA, who’s advancing this case in Manhattan right now, is one of the people who dropped charges against him previously—after Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers made donations to his campaigns.”
Farrow is of course referring to Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr., whose office dropped charges against Weinstein in 2015 despite plenty of evidence—including a recording of Weinstein admitting to groping actress Ambra Gutierrez. It was later revealed that Weinstein’s then-lawyer, David Boies, donated $10,000 to Vance’s office in the months after the case was dropped. And, while Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a formal inquiry into the dropping of the 2015 case, he later put the investigation on hold.
As to whether Weinstein will face justice, Farrow seemed appropriately skeptical. “They are trying now, there’s a lot of public pressure, I hope they do a good job, but this has been a long time coming and the track record does not make one optimistic,” he offered.