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That legal ambivalence was on view Friday with the arrest of Weinstein in New York on rape and sex crime charges.

Sometimes they are reluctant to go after a celebrity because it is an unpopular and risky move.

If they fail to win such a case, their careers can stall.

Like Weinstein, the accusations against Cosby took decades to surface, in part because of the power of his celebrity and accusers' fear they would not be believed.

Mesereau's defense rested on attacking the accusers based on their past behavior and statements, and their slowness to complain. Cosby was found guilty on April 26 of drugging and molesting a woman at his Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.- Intimidated prosecutors -Wealth and fame can also intimidate prosecutors, many who are elected and whose careers can be made or broken by big-name cases, especially those involving sexual assault.

Brafman said Weinstein intends to plead "not guilty," but also said he will continue pressing the New York prosecutor "to dissuade them from proceeding" with the investigation -- a possibility rarely available to poorer defendants. The greatest example is the 1995 case of OJ Simpson, the celebrated football player who hired a top-notch legal team to fight murder charges and won.- Expensive hush payments -Money and powerful lawyers also allows celebrities to avoid trials by buying off accusers, getting them to sign hush agreements to keep a possible scandal or lawsuit under wraps.

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