Actress Rose McGowan flew to Dulles airport in Virginia back in January of 2017 to attend the Women’s March in Washington, DC. When a cleaning crew went through the plane Toffic Yeseuf found McGowan’s wallet had been left behind under her first class seat. He opened it to look for an ID. Inside he found $25 in cash and two small bags of white powder. Tests by police later identified the powder as cocaine.
The next day a member of the Airport Authority Police Department called McGowan to let her know her wallet had been found. She asked that it be left for her at baggage claim. When told it would be waiting for her at the airport police department she promised to come get it but never did. The following month, police issued an arrest warrant for McGowan which was mailed to her. Word of the warrant’s existence broke last fall.
Thursday a preliminary hearing was held in Virginia to determine whether the case would be allowed to go forward. At the hearing, McGowan’s representatives suggested that she had been a target of Harvey Weinstein and that, perhaps, someone had planted the drugs in her wallet. From the Washington Post:
Attorneys for McGowan said after the hearing that they were confident a jury would find no proof McGowan knew the drugs were in the wallet or had possession of the wallet when her plane landed in Virginia.
“We have a lot of faith in the 12 citizens of Virginia who will get to hear what happened for real,” defense attorney Jessica Carmichael told reporters.
McGowan was one of the first women to accuse Weinstein of rape and has since become an outspoken advocate for sexual assault victims. The defense has argued in court papers that Weinstein could have been involved in planting the drugs and cited news reports saying he hired private investigators to stop McGowan and others from coming forward.
“Rose is a feminist whistleblower who has been outspoken about sexual abuse,” Jennifer Robinson, a London-based human rights lawyer working with McGowan, said outside court. Weinstein, she said, “hired ex-intelligence agents to infiltrate her life and undermine her credibility.”
My first impression is that police have McGowan pretty dead to rights. The wallet was under her first class seat on a plane she was definitely on and the drugs were found in the wallet (not loose near the seat) on top of her ID. The fact that she refused to pick up the wallet, which contained her driver’s license and several other cards, after learning it was at the airport police station, strongly suggests to me that she had an idea what they’d found inside.
If it were anyone else, I’d say there was a 100% chance she was guilty. However, it really is true that Harvey Weinstein took some extreme measures to try to block McGowan’s story from coming out. Last year Ronan Farrow wrote a story for the New Yorker outlining how Weinstein paid a group called Black Cube more than half a million dollars to create a sympathetic friend for McGowan:
In May, 2017, McGowan received an e-mail from a literary agency introducing her to a woman who identified herself as Diana Filip, the deputy head of sustainable and responsible investments at Reuben Capital Partners, a London-based wealth-management firm. Filip told McGowan that she was launching an initiative to combat discrimination against women in the workplace and asked McGowan, a vocal women’s-rights advocate, to speak at a gala kickoff event later that year. Filip offered McGowan a fee of sixty-thousand dollars. “I understand that we have a lot in common,” Filip wrote to McGowan before their first meeting, in May, at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Filip had a U.K. cell-phone number, and she spoke with what McGowan took to be a German accent. Over the following months, the two women met at least three more times at hotel bars in Los Angeles and New York and other locations. “I took her to the Venice boardwalk and we had ice cream while we strolled,” McGowan told me, adding that Filip was “very kind.” The two talked at length about issues relating to women’s empowerment. Filip also repeatedly told McGowan that she wanted to make a significant investment in McGowan’s production company…
In fact, “Diana Filip” was an alias for a former officer in the Israeli Defense Forces who originally hailed from Eastern Europe and was working for Black Cube, according to three individuals with knowledge of the situation.
And Black Cube is not the only group Weinstein hired to do his dirty work. So the point is, he really did have people messing with her life in ways that sound more like a Hollywood movie than reality. Would Weinstein go as far as planting drugs on someone to discredit them? If you believe, as I do, that he’s probably a rapist, then planting drugs doesn’t seem like a big ethical barrier. Weinstein had motive and means to do something like this. The question is whether he (or his people) had the opportunity. That’s what McGowan’s people are going to need to prove. Judge Dean S. Worcester ruled Thursday that prosecutors had presented enough evidence that the case will be going to trial.
To be honest, I still think she’s probably guilty (an innocent person would have picked up the wallet) but given the crazy stuff Weinstein did to her, I’m not 100% sure about anything.