Just as video went public today of Harvey Weinstein apparently sexual harassing a women in a business meeting, attempts by the once high-powered producer to close down a criminal case that could see him behind bars for life was called out by the New York County District Attorney’s Office as “meritless” and that it “should be denied.”
“Defendant moves to dismiss the indictment or counts thereof on various grounds of alleged defect or deficiency in the presentation of the matter to the grand jury,” said Cyrus Vance Jr’s office Wednesday in a response to a sprawling and politically charged August 3 motion to dismiss from Weinstein’s primary attorney Ben Brafman.
“Inspection will reveal that the evidence before the grand jury amply supported the offenses charged, that the grand jury was properly instructed on the law, and that the integrity of the proceedings was unimpaired, and the People deny all allegations to the contrary, and oppose disclosure of the grand jury minutes to the defense,” adds the filing (read it here) in New York Supreme Court.
The D.A. isn’t saying more at this time, but Weinstein’s lawyer isn’t buying the response.
“We believe that the People’s response in its entirety makes it absolutely clear that the case against Mr. Weinstein cannot be successfully prosecuted,” said Brafman in a statement to Deadline. “Period.”
While fending off “failure to provide exculpatory email evidence” and other claims, Deputy D.A. Joan Illuzzi-Orbon’s response Wednesday is admittedly not altogether publicly complete. “As a result of recent developments, the People serve this disclosure and additional letter on the defense relating to Count Six of the indictment,” today’s filing notes of a Protective Order signed by Justice James Burke. “The investigation into facts set forth in the disclosure are ongoing, and we will respond to defendant’s motion addressing count Six at the conclusion of that investigation.”
Out on $1 million bail after having plead not guilty to the first round of indictment and having surrendered his passport earlier this year, Weinstein is set to be back in Burke’s Manhattan courtroom September 20. The disgraced producer was last in court July 9 to enter another not guilty plea after the Manhattan D.A.’s office slapped him with additional and more damning sex crime charges July 2.
Those charges this summer mark an additional count of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree for a forcible sexual act that allegedly occurred in 2006. Joining the two women identified in a previous indictment in late May, the new indictment relates to a new alleged victim and includes two counts of Predatory Sexual Assault.
The response from the Big Apple D.A. comes the same day that Sky News revealed exclusive video of Weinstein allegedly sexually harassing Melissa Thompson in September 2011 in what was supposed to be a pitch meeting for a potential analytics service for the Weinstein Company.
As detailed previously in her class action suit with Larissa Gomes and Caitlin Dulany, the video (watch the full Sky segment here) shot on Thompson’s laptop shows Weinstein being very touchy. In addition to telling Thompson he wants “a part of her,” Weinstein is apparently, out of the camera’s view, running his hands up her leg as she objects — “That’s a little high, a little high,” Thompson says in the video. In her jury-seeking action, Thompson says Weinstein raped her later that day in a nearly hotel.
“What do I do?” Thompson told Sky she was thinking of the initial encounter with Weinstein. “How did I get myself here?”
Also today, a hearing in federal court in New York City heard arguments on Thompson, Gomes and Dulany’s class action and matters related to motions to dismiss. That hearing resulted in the presiding judge allowing the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint, which is due by October 31.
At another hearing on another case against the ex-movie mogul hit a procedural bump in the road and saw RICO claims against Weinstein in a class action by half a dozen alleged victims dismissed, for now. After telling attorneys for Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Masse, Melissa Sagemiller, and Nannette Klatt that they have not meant the legal standard to demonstrate that Weinstein had a pattern of actions that constituted sex trafficking, Judge Alvin Hellerstein offered the plaintiffs another chance. They now have until October 31, a significant date it seems in the world of Weinstein, to file an amended compliant in the matter, which was first filed in December of last year.
As well as being investigated by federal prosecutors and probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office and the NYPD, allegations against Weinstein have been reviewed by the LAPD, which sent an initial trio of cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. Another case was handed over to that same office early last month. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police first passed two cases of sexual assault that they say occurred in their jurisdiction to Lacey’s office on January 2.