The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office said today it would have attempted to prosecute Harvey Weinstein on criminal charges two years ago if the New York Police Department had coordinated the matter involving claims by model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez with them.
The new information comes on the heels of the latest damning expose on the film mogul, this from investigative journalist Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker, which published today. The article, like the New York Times’ report last week, alleges decades of sexual harassment and assaults by Weinstein. The New Yorker piece included audio of a recorded conversation between Gutierrez and Weinstein at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in 2015 as part of a sting operation.
On the tape, Weinstein is heard trying to lure Gutierrez into his hotel room, and seemed to admit to inappropriately touching Gutierrez in an earlier encounter that prompted the sting operation. At the time, the D.A. did not file criminal charges. Weinstein was never charged and the Manhattan D.A.’s office said on April 10 2015,“after analyzing the available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, the criminal charge is not supported.”
Taking a different angle, here is the statement today from Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman-Agnifilo at the Manhattan DA’s Office:
“If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience. Any individual who feels that she may have been the victim of a crime by this person in Manhattan is strongly encouraged to contact our Office’s Sex Crimes Hotline at (212) 335-9373.
“After the complaint was made in 2015, the NYPD – without our knowledge or input – arranged a controlled call and meeting between the complainant and Mr. Weinstein. The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime. While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent. Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful. This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s Office has not respond to requests as to whether they will be reopening the matter. The NYPD certainly had something to say about being tossed under the bus by the D.A.’s office. “In March 2015, the NYPD investigated a misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint against Harvey Weinstein,” Deputy Commissioner Steve Davis told Deadline in a statement. “The case was referred to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.”
Weinstein has through a spokesperson today denied any allegations of non-consensual sex and that “with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual,” the spokesperson said today.
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