Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman has spoken out about Sunday’s report in The New York Times that Asia Argento, one of the highest-profile accusers in Weinstein’s multiple alleged sexual assault revelations, paid off actor-musician Jimmy Bennett after allegedly sexually assaulting him in 2013 when he was 17.
Argento was one of the key sources in Ronan Farrow’s October 2017 exposé in the New Yorker that detailed decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault by Weinstein. The Oscar-winning producer has since been charged with rape and sex abuse in New York, with cases also under investigation in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and the UK.
Here’s Bronfman’s statement today:
This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein. What is perhaps most egregious, is the timing, which suggests that at the very same time Argento was working on her own secret settlement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she was positioning herself at the forefront of those condemning Mr. Weinstein, despite the fact that her sexual relationship with Mr. Weinstein was between two consenting adults which lasted for more than four years. The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty.
The Times reported Sunday that Argento’s alleged assault happened months past Bennett’s 17th birthday in a California hotel room. Argento was 37 at the time. In their agreement, the NYT reported, Bennett gave a photo of the two topless together in bed, and its copyright, to Argento.
In the New Yorker article that helped launch the influential #MeToo and Times Up movements, Argento spoke for the first time publicly about the alleged 1997 incident with Weinstein at the Hôtel du Cap in Cannes when she was 21.
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