The audio recordings proving Harvey Weinstein continued to pursue a woman even after she said "no" multiple times should have been enough to prosecute. Yet, he never was. The same could be said for the audio recordings of President Donald Trump, who bragged about having the power to grab women without their consent.
The Daily Beast specifically cites Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance as the deciding factor. Vance was also cited in a recent report that revealed he refused to allow the D.A. office to prosecute Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. for fraud after substantial donations were made to his campaign.
When it came to Trump, Vance claimed he "made the right call" and in a 2015 Weinstein case he claimed there was insufficient evidence, despite overwhelming evidence. However, he also got a $10,000 campaign contribution from the producer's attorney after declining to pursue charges. The only requirement to convict on misdemeanor charges was proof of sexual contact without consent. The tape, revealed by the New Yorker Tuesday, should have been enough.
Bennett Gershman, a professor at the Pace School of Law, explained this as a “slam dunk” for any prosecutor. He went on to say that the claim that the evidence wasn't there is unconvincing -- in fact, he calls it "preposterous. He goes on to point to Vance's criticism of the police for not "involving his office" in the taping of Weinstein "very weak." Regardless of procedures and protocols, the tape was there with the evidence.
CNN legal analyst Mel Robbins disagrees, explaining on Wednesday that proof of intent was needed, and that's why the D.A. couldn't win.
With the Trump case, Vance claimed there wasn't evidence to prosecute the Trump children for misleading buyers of condos in Trump's SoHo luxury development. Multiple emails revealed the case against the Trumps and the D.A. staff was set to prosecute, only to be stopped by Vance.
It was later revealed that Vance got a substantial contribution from President Donald Trump's personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. Vance gave the contribution back and made the decision not to prosecute. After several months, Kasowitz made an even larger contribution and raised even more money.
"A prosecutor possesses awesome weaponry to investigate crime and force witnesses to testify: the investigating grand jury, the issuance of subpoenas, and compulsion of testimony through grants of immunity," Gershman explained. "There was no legal or practical impediment to continuing the investigation of the Trumps and compelling the testimony of investors who were defrauded."
While prosecutions of the rich and powerful or "celebrity" can be difficult, according to Gershman, Vance shouldn't have been gun-shy to do his job and the reason why he was is "hard to know."
"His excuses in both cases for not prosecuting are extremely troubling, and do not inspire confidence in his impartial and aggressive enforcement of criminal law," Gershman closed.