Harvey Weinstein is currently facing five charges in court, which include rape and sexual assault, but he's reportedly about to lose his biggest defender. Benjamin Brafman, who has represented celebrities like Jay-Z and Michael Jackson, and successfully defended sexual assault cases against Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Sanford I. Rubenstein, will be leaving Weinstein's case on Thursday, according to the New York Times.
This is a big blow to Weinstein's case, which may now be delayed. As the NYT put it, Brafman is "known for his disarming sense of humor, quick wit and skillful cross-examinations" and was considered a formidable opponent.
“Cases don’t get decided with facts or evidence,” Carrie Goldberg, who’s representing one of the accusers, told Esquire in a recent profile of Brafman. “They get decided on storytelling, and Ben is a masterful storyteller. This is the stuff they don’t teach in law school.”
Despite his role defending many in Weinstein's position, Brafman told Esquire he did not feel guilty.
"I’m not the morality police,” he explained to the outlet. “I’m a criminal- defense lawyer.”
Weinstein has had one case, from accuser Lucia Evans, dismissed from court. However, he remains the subject of over 80 accusations of sexual misconduct from actresses and other women in the industry who kicked off the resurgence of the #MeToo movement in October 2017. Weinstein has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.
He is due back in court March 7.