Linda Kenney Baden, a criminal defense lawyer and a host for the Law&Crime Network, is now consulting attorneys for disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by numerous women of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“Jose Baez and Ron Sullivan, who I have worked on various cases with including Aaron Hernandez and Casey Anthony and other matters, asked if I would give them a legal opinion as to a certain specific matter with regard to the Harvey Weinstein indictment,” Baden told Law&Crime. “I had no qualms about doing so for attorneys who I know well. While I love to comment on cases outside of court, as a defense attorney I know that cases are tried in the courtroom. This is a process I am proud to be a part of. It is why I went to law school. Every defendant deserves the protections of our legal system, not an Alice in Wonderland world where there is a ‘sentence first-verdict afterwards.'”
Baden has a history of consulting and representing controversial, high-profile clients. She represented music producer Phil Spector in his 2007 trial for second-degree murder, which ended in a hung jury. (The 2009 follow up, which she did not participate in, resulted in a conviction.) Baden helped Baez win an acquittal in the murder trial of Florida woman Casey Anthony. Baden also helped both Baez and Sullivan in the second murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. This also resulted in an acquittal.
Baden is now consulting Weinstein’s attorneys, but is not one of the trial counsels.
Dozens of women–including actresses Rose McGowan, Mira Sorvino, and Ashley Judd–accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct up to and including rape. (Baez and Sullivan previously represented McGowan in a recent drug case. She was not pleased to see them now represent Weinstein.) Weinstein allegedly used his professional power as leverage against victims who rejected his advances.
The claims rendered the once-influential producer a pariah in the industry, and sparked a national dialogue about sexual misconduct committed by men in authority. The question is whether prosecutors in New York can make a handful of local charges stick. This case has been in constant flux, with a bumpy prosecution, and a recently overhauled defense team.
Weinstein raped a woman, and in another incident, forced a woman to perform oral sex on him, prosecutors said. He pleaded not guilty. The case is going to trial. A count regarding a third alleged victim was dropped in 2018, however, because a detective allegedly failed to tell prosecutors about a witness statement that could have potentially benefited the defendant by casting doubt on the woman’s story (i.e. exculpatory evidence). The same law enforcement officer also allegedly told one of the women that she could delete private information from her phone before giving it to investigators.
Weinstein recently overhauled his defense team, however. He split with lawyer Benjamin Brafman after a judge ruled that the case will go to trial. Law&Crime reported in January that according to sources, client and attorney got into “raucous fights” over strategy. Brafman declined to comment to us regarding the matter back then. Other lawyers were soon reported to be joining his team: Baez, Sullivan, and Pam Mackey, who represented then-NBA star Kobe Bryant in a 2003 sexual assault case. Mackey ended up not joining because of a fee dispute, according to Page Six.
Weinstein has repeatedly denied any and all accusations of non-consensual sex.
Note – February 27, 2018: We clarified that Baden is consulting Weinstein’s lawyers, not representing the defendant as trial counsel. We also added reference that Baez and Sullivan previously represented McGowan in a drug case. The actress says Weinstein sexually assaulted her.
We added reference to a Page Six report from Monday night (February 25) that said Mackey ended up not joining the legal team because of a “serious” disagreement regarding her fee.
[Image via KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images]