The lawyers of a man accused of selling women and underage girls into slavery are trying to postpone his trial by suggesting their client won’t be judged fairly because of the #MeToo movement that is currently taking the country — if not the world — by storm.
Benjamin Biancofiori, who has been accused of using “death threats, vicious beatings and other abuse to force women into sexual servitude,” has a long history of criminal behavior. From being arrested on the suspicion of running a child sex trafficking ring to committing brutal assault and burglary, the 37-year-old has earned a notorious reputation in Chicago.
As the Chicago Tribune reported, his legal team has filed a seven-page motion that draws links between the allegations against Biancofiori and those against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in an attempt to persuade U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber into delaying the trial.
The appeal cited the powerful #MeToo campaign, which has been imploring women to take a stand against their sexual abusers and has led to the downfall of a number of high-profile men, claiming their client won’t be able to get an impartial jury in the wake of all that has transpired in the past couple of months.
“In view of the extraordinary attention to and enflamed (sic) societal passion on the subject of male sexual misconduct, Mr. Biancofiori cannot hope to select a jury that is untainted by the veritable flood of reporting on the subject,” attorney Andrea Gambino wrote.
As if that wasn’t bizarre enough, Gambino also said she would need time to prepare a questionnaire to identify if jurors had participated in the #MeToo movement or if they were “prejudiced” by “their own individual experiences with male sexual misconduct” — because, apparently, only women and sexual assault survivors have a problem with sex trafficking.
The lawyer also mentioned the hullaballoo around the trial of former USA Gymnastics Larry Nassar, who is accused of sexually assaulting dozens of young women and has already been sentenced for possessing child pornography, to further her point.
While the judge has not commented on the matter as of yet, it has also surfaced Biancofiori’s lawyers are trying to keep the prosecutors from presenting a 124-page autobiographical style manifesto by the alleged criminal that detailed his work as a pimp in front of the jury.
Although Gambino has described it as an “incomplete work of fiction,” the prosecutors claimed the document described pimp as “a distinctive character with an exceptional intellect who possesses the ability to deal with the most difficult tasks with ease” and the one who “has the power to bring out the best in the worst kind of women, whereas most men can't even control one woman.”
Biancofiori also allegedly detailed how he picked up his victims and advertised them online to be “makin’ money in no time.”
Thumbnail/Banner : Reuters, Stoyan Nenov