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Harvey Weinstein’s 2018 Takeaway? “I’ve Had One Hell of a Year”

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Weinstein photographed at State Supreme Court in New York on October 11, 2018.

By Mark Lennihan/AP/REX/Shutterstock.

In an e-mail to friends that quickly leaked late Wednesday, disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein reflected on his swift fall from grace, which began last autumn when dozens of women came forward to accuse him of sexual assault and rape. (The total number of accusers eventually climbed to 87. Weinstein has denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.)

His conclusion? “I’ve had one hell of a year.”

The New York Times reviewed the letter, in which Weinstein calls this year “the worst nightmare of my life.” Per the Times, the letter also criticizes police investigators—but Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the paper that Weinstein’s e-mail was not a part of any legal strategy. The e-mail does, however, hit talking points similar to the legal and P.R. strategies that Weinstein’s attorneys and representatives have adopted in court, the Times notes. And its timing also seems significant: at Weinstein’s final hearing on December 20, the producer and his legal team will try to convince the court to dismiss the criminal charges against him. (A judge threw out one count against Weinstein in October; Weinstein still faces five sex-crime charges, which carry a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.)

“The e-mails from Harvey have to be viewed from the perspective of someone who is very distressed,” Brafman told the Times. “It’s him asking for help. This was not an aggressive move by Harvey Weinstein.”

In the e-mail, Weinstein links to multiple articles about his case, writing to his friends, “As you can see from these articles, the police have played a very difficult role in my investigation. . . . The articles are self-explanatory, but I’d like to speak to you on the phone if you have some time. There is more to this story . . . I appreciate your confidentiality.”

“Have a read of these articles,” Weinstein concluded. “I wish I didn’t have to ask, but I’d be very appreciative of your time. Best, Harvey.”

Since the e-mail leaked, the Times reports that many women in Hollywood, including those involved in Time’s Up, have expressed distress. Katherine Kendall, one of the first actresses to come forward with allegations against Weinstein, told the Times that Weinstein “knows how to run a marketing campaign, that’s for sure.”

“To me, I can’t imagine that people would believe him, that people would go back,” Kendall said. “But I know there are people who are afraid that he’s been planning his comeback for a while. I think there are so many people who see him as a master manipulator, that nothing will surprise them. And that they’re afraid of him.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Rosen—who co-founded the strategic communications firm BerlinRosen—told the Times he believes that Weinstein is trying to sow doubt among future jurors about how his case was handled, rather than seeking to rehabilitate image—because that is a ship that Rosen believes sailed long ago.

“This is not a reputation-management strategy; this is a loss of liberty and avoidance of prison strategy,” Rosen told the Times. “These are very specific attempts to discredit what seems to be, at the very least from what I’ve read, real mistakes that were made.” As for whether he’d ever advise a client to send an e-mail like Weinstein’s? “No,” Rosen said, “absolutely not.”

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This story was originally published by Vanity Fair

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