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I am confused about what the following line in this article means:

His accusers from a separate civil case asked a judge to block the release of the material over confidentiality concerns. They allege Weinstein’s lawyers told them he “intended to unleash these emails in the media to sway the court of public opinion”.

What does the last sentence mean, particularly to sway the court of public opinion? Does court of public opinion mean civil court?

Does the last sentence mean that Weinstein's lawyers told the accusers that Weinstein will release the emails in the media so that the civil court makes a favorable decision about him?

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As you have noted, "the court of public opinion" is an idiom. It uses the metaphor of "court" to describe the judgement made by the public. It is not a real court or an official body.

When a person is controversial, and especially when they are really on trial, they will get judged not only by the jury, but also everybody who reads the newspaper or the internet news. If people are generally sympathetic to the person it can make a difference to how the jury act, and how the person is treated later.

In this case, some lawyers were going to publish emails which would make Weinstein's victims look bad, in order to make the public more sympathetic towards Weinstein.

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  • Thank you for the answer :) – a_sid Mar 15 at 3:19

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