EXCLUSIVE: Over a month before he is scheduled to be back in court on sex crime charges that could see him behind bars for life and less than an month after he last pled not guilty, Harvey Weinstein today took a big swing at having the whole grand jury case dismissed.
“Mr. Weinstein categorically denies that he had non-consensual sex with any person, and specifically the three accusers in the pending indictment,” declared the producer’s primary lawyer Benjamin Brafman in a highly charged motion filed in New York Supreme Court on Friday morning.
“The pending indictment against Mr. Weinstein must be dismissed at the pretrial stage because it is legally infirm based on the District Attorney’s failure to provide exculpatory email evidence to the Grand Jury; failure to give adequate notice to the defense as requested that it was presenting new, far more serious charges to the Grand Jury; failure to indicate with sufficient specificity when the alleged crime in Count Six occurred; failure to prosecute Count Five within the five-year Statute of Limitations; and failure to provide the Grand Jury with sufficient evidence of the legally required element of force, as well as other Grand Jury deficiencies,” the 26-page motion (read it here) plus exhibits and memorandum of law additions adds, accusing Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance Jr’s office of having “tainted the entire Grand Jury proceedings.”
The anticipated mega-motion follows the much-accused producer receiving redacted permission yesterday in an emergency hearing with a federal bankruptcy court judge to be able to use 40 emails from his The Weinstein Company account that Weinstein’s lawyers view as adding a new perspective to his relationship with one of the alleged victims. Emails over a five-year period with one of the victims that they asserted were vital to his defense in the criminal case. Weinstein was last in court on July 9 to plea not guilty after Manhattan D.A.’s office slapped him with additional charges that could put The King’s Speech EP in a cell for the rest of his life.
“What is absolutely clear from these emails is that CW-1 had a long-term, consensual, intimate relationship with Mr. Weinstein that continued for years after the alleged rape and that the extensive communications from CW-1 to Weinstein evinced not a single indication that CW-1 had ever been the victim of a forcible rape,” Friday’s filing attests of the unnamed alleged victim, who was reportedly raped by Weinstein in March of 2013. Though her seemingly playful and on-going “booty call” and “I love you” citing correspondence with Weinstein are included with today’s motion, this individual is left unnamed. On the other hand, Lucia Evans and Mimi Haleyi, the two other women in the case, are clearly identified in today’s paperwork as both have been named in the media before.
“In refusing to agree to even a brief adjournment or to provide these emails to the Grand Jury, the People violated all sense of fair dealing by presenting the Grand Jury with an incomplete and misleading impression about CW-1’s actual contact and communications with Mr. Weinstein, thereby preventing the Grand Jury from properly contextualizing and assessing her testimony when they made the decision as to whether the evidence presented was sufficient to indict on a forcible rape,” Weinstein’s lawyer states, hitting what might be soft procedural underbelly in the D.A.’s actions.
Coming as another indictment from the grand jury, the charge of committing a forcible sexual act in the first degree pertaining to the allegations of a third woman follows the previous case based on the accounts of two other women. Out on $1 million bail and having surrendered his passport earlier this summer, Weinstein is set to be back in New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke’s courtroom on September 20.
However, with cameos in the filing by Gloria Allred, the New York Post, Empire State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and now resigned NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, part of Brafman’s tactic to get Weinstein off the charges clearly is taking aim at D.A. Vance’s office – both bare knuckles NYC-style and politely, with a shiv.
“It is respectfully requested that the Court examine all the legal instructions given to the Grand Jury and that the Court give particular scrutiny to the instruction regarding how the Grand Jury must evaluate the evidence for each crime separately,” today’s filing says with velvet language. “For instance, the prosecutors must instruct the Grand Jury that it could not consider any of the evidence relating to the criminal sexual act charges when deciding whether Mr. Weinstein committed the rape charges. And vice versa. A failure to properly instruct the Grand Jury regarding this matter would constitute an error so substantial that it would render the Grand Jury proceedings legally defective requiring a dismissal of the entire indictment.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s office had no comment on Friday’s filings by Weinstein’s attorney.
But, Weinstein’s attorney certainly had more to say on the latest move for his client.
“The motions filed today reflect the first opportunity for Mr. Weinstein to present legal arguments as to why the indictment filed against him should be dismissed,” Brafman told Deadline. “Among the numerous grounds supporting dismissal, the motions reveal the existence of exculpatory evidence known to the prosecution but intentionally kept from the grand jurors, communications which corroborate Mr. Weinstein’s factual innocence in this case,” the lawyer stressed. “Attached to the motions are dozens of emails written by the anonymous accuser, who sent extensive warm, complimentary and solicitous messages to Mr. Weinstein immediately following the now claimed event and over the next four year period. These communications irrefutably reflect the true nature of this consensual intimate friendship, which never at any time included a forcible rape.”
As well as being investigated by federal prosecutors, the Manhattan D.A. and the NYPD, allegations against Weinstein have been reviewed by the LAPD, which sent a trio of cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault that they say occurred in their jurisdiction to Jackie Lacey’s office on January 2.