A week before a hearing that could decide the fate of the Manhattan District Attorney’s rape case against Harvey Weinstein, the primary lawyer for the much-accused producer today attacked the alleged victims and prosecutors.
“Contrary to what Mr. Wilson would have us believe, the issue before this Court is one of law and not political correctness,” Ben Brafman told New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke in a letter (read it here) filed Tuesday morning. The letter was in response to correspondence by Assistant D.A. Kevin Wilson on Friday. Back then, Deadline noted that the white gloves had come off in the lead-up to the December 20 hearing in NYC. Today it seems the pummeling has intensified.
“We also note with great respect that, as a result of our extensive investigation, we now have access to the personal email exchanges between Mr. Weinstein and many of the most vocal women who have made sexual allegations against him,” the often-acerbic attorney adds of the producer’s digital correspondence from the The Weinstein Company that he fought so hard to get out of TWC’s bankruptcy proceedings.
“For the most part, these extraordinary emails suggest, beyond question, that many of these women have lied in making their complaints against Mr. Weinstein,” wrote Brafman, dropping an atom bomb on the proceedings that could see Weinstein behind bars for life if found guilty on all counts. “We respectfully bring this information to your Honor’s attention, as the public outcry that has been made against Mr. Weinstein cannot be allowed to overwhelm the proceedings pending in this case as so many, including the People, have urged,” it follows, citing a litany of woes about how unfairly the once sharp-elbowed Weinstein has been treated in the press by the cops and the D.A.’s office
As to be expected, that pert statement of accusers being liars isn’t followed with a plethora of examples or emails to confirm authenticity. Instead, with more than 60 women having accused Weinstein of sexual assault or sexual harassment since the New York Times first broke its exposé on the producer in October 2017, Brafman mentions former producer assistant Mimi Haleyi in a footnote and conjures a single case, from March 2013, which he first revealed might have another point of view in a November 29 filing.
In fact, Brafman seems in such a lather that the letter sent today actually gets the dates wrong, substituting 2018 for 2013.
“There is a fundamental difference between the prosecution generally informing a Grand Jury that a complaining witness continued to have a friendship with the accused after the time she claims she was sexually assaulted and presenting the actual available evidence to the Grand Jury that the person who claims to have been raped with force in those early morning hours of March 2018 actually chose later that very same evening to go to the movies to see her attacker at his own screening.”
In what seems to have become the preferred public forum of late for both sides in the media spotlighted matter ahead of the December 20 hearing, today’s letter from the Brafman & Associates founder rolled out a lot of the same assertions that Weinstein’s defense has made for months, like trolling the NYPD role in the investigation and its fractured relationship with Cyrus Vance Jr’s office amidst the landmines of NYC politics.
Not that the once solid looking case hasn’t had some serious problems. Prosecutors moved to dismiss one of the sexual assault charges in October. Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, the lead prosecutor in the case, acknowledged to Justice Burke that the lead detective in the case had committed a big mistake in failing to tell them about other witnesses who had cast doubt on the credibility of one of Weinstein’s accusers, Lucia Evans.
As in past motions and correspondence, Brafman asserts today that due to perceived flaws in the investigation and subsequent presentation to the Grand Jury for indictments this summer, the whole case should be tossed out or done over with a new Grand Jury.
The Manhattan D.A. did not respond today to requests from Deadline on the latest letter from Brafman. However, with over a week to go before the possible pivotal hearing before Justice Burke, don’t been surprised if they drop another letter of their own in the next few days in this legal and media war.
Despite Brafman’s assertion that many of Weinstein’s accusers are liars, there are dozens and dozens of women such as Ashley Judd, who is fighting a retaliation case in federal court, with very similar stories of misconduct by the producer.
Additionally, Weinstein is under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as the probe 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 in in August. As UK police continue their investigation, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault that they say occurred in their jurisdiction to Lacey’s office on January 2.