Loudoun District Court Judge Deborah Welsh this morning denied a motion to dismiss the criminal drug charge against actress Rose McGowan. The case will proceed to an evidentiary preliminary hearing on March 21.
Her attorneys asked for dismissal of the felony cocaine possession charge against her. The motion challenged the authority of Virginia courts to hear the case and raises allegations that the drug was planted in her wallet, which she left on a plane after landing at Dulles Airport in January.
McGowan was the first woman to publicly claim she was sexually assaulted by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, effectively kicking off the Me Too movement that resulted in Weinstein’s banishment and calls to end sexual harassment and abuse in the industry.
Her attorneys argue that the drug may have been planted as part of an alleged campaign by Weinstein to discredit McGowan. More than five hours passed between the time she disembarked, leaving the wallet in a seat, until it was turned over to airport police, the motion stated.
Even if the drug was not planted, the motion argues, that there is no evidence that McGowan ever possessed cocaine in Virginia. “Even assuming, only for the sake of argument, that she did possess the cocaine at some point in time, it would have been prior to the cocaine being on the floor of the plane at Dulles International Airport,” the motion states challenging Virginia’s authority to prosecute the case.
“There is no evidence Ms. McGowan possessed this cocaine at all, let alone possessed it in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Therefore, this case belongs in no court, and certainly not a court in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” the motion stated.
Welsh said the arguments could be considered during the March 21 preliminary hearing, when the judge will hear evidence and rule on whether there is probable cause to send the case to a grand jury for indictment and a subsequent trial in Circuit Court.
Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert is prosecuting the case after Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Plowman recused himself because McGowan’s lawyer had represented him in an unrelated case.