New York residents may be aware that the actress Rose McGowan was charged with cocaine possession in February 2017 after a small quantity of the drug was found in a wallet belonging to the actress that had been left on a plane. McGowan was one of the first women to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and rape, and she claims that the disgraced Hollywood mogul arranged for the cocaine to be planted in an attempt to smear and silence her. However, the publicity surrounding the case did not prevent a Virginia grand jury from indicting McGowan on one felony count of possession of a controlled substance. The indictment was issued on June 11.
McGowan says that she misplaced her wallet while flying to the nation’s capital to attend the Women’s March in January. An airline worker is said to have discovered the wallet and its alleged contents while cleaning the plane involved. The actress denies using drugs and has consistently maintained that the entire episode was orchestrated by individuals working on behalf of Weinstein.
McGowan’s attorney has stopped short of suggesting that his client is the victim of a conspiracy, but he has voiced questions about the evidence against her. In a letter sent to the sent to the Virginia court in November, he pointed out that prosecutors would have a difficult time proving beyond reasonable doubt that the drugs belonged to his client. According to the letter, the drugs were discovered between five and 11 hours after McGowan misplaced her wallet.
Experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge individuals charged with serious drug crimes not to be too concerned about grand jury proceedings. Grand juries are tasked with determining whether or not sufficient probable cause exists to issue an indictment, but only prosecutors are permitted to ask questions and there is no judge present.
Source: The Cut, “Rose McGowan Indicted on Cocaine Charge”, Sarah Spellings, June 12, 2018