Harvey Weinstein may be sending self-pitying emails to his few remaining pals complaining about having “one Hell of a year,” but his lawyers and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office aren’t exactly shy about taking bloody swipes at each other in correspondence today either.
Just under two weeks before a pivotal hearing in New York Supreme Court that could determine the direction of the rape case against the much accused and disgraced producer, both sides let loose Friday with letters to Justice James Burke in the matter of the People v. Harvey Weinstein. Correspondence that saw the D.A.’s office damningly accuse Weinstein and his lawyer of having a “misguided and antiquated view of how a rape victim should react after having been assaulted.”
To that end and tugging at hope to unravel the D.A.’s already shaken case, attorney Ben Brafman sent the first letter today, telling Burke that one of the women who allege that Weinstein sexually assaulted her on March 13, 2013 showed up at an invite only screening of his the same day the claimed incident occurred. “Why would an alleged rape victim go out of her way to spend time with her ‘rapist’ merely hours after she was allegedly attacked,” the note from the lawyer to the judge asked, drawing from emails send and received on Weinstein’s The Weinstein Company account.
Besides hoping to devalue the credibility of the alleged victim and hence the entire case that could see Weinstein imprisoned for the rest of his life, the increasingly brazen defense also took another brass knuckled swing at the office of Cyrus Vance Jr and the NYPD today.
As Brafman did in his November 29 filing detailing apparently undermining revelations from an unidentified friend of the woman in question, Friday’s correspondence also asserted that the information had been conveyed to the cops and the D.A. but never to the defense. If true, that oversight could knock the legs out of a case that looked like a done deal when indictments first came down in the summer.
In correspondence of their own, the Manhattan D.A. partially responded to Brafman’s letter of today. That correspondence also just stopped short of calling Weinstein’s attacking attorney a liar.
“I write to briefly respond to the defendant’s reply filed November 29, 2018 and the letter filed by the defendant on December 7, 2018,” said Assistant D.A. Kevin Wilson on Friday to Justice Burke. “In his November 29th submission, the defendant exhaustively repeats, yet again, the arguments set forth in his earlier submissions,” the public prosecutor added snidely. “We will not repeat herein our responses to those earlier briefs. Nor will we highlight the numerous instances in which he has misrepresented and mischaracterized our prior positions.”
“The defendant filed an addendum to this argument on December 7, 2018 describing a communication involving this same witness,” the Assistant D.A. says of the letter from Brafman of today. “Again, when read in conjunction with the grand jury minutes, this is not exculpatory information.”
Then Wilson drops even the pretense of being polite or indulgent, so to speak.
“That the defendant has a misguided and antiquated view of how a rape victim should react after having been assaulted does not change this reality,” the official on Vance’s team declares of Brafman’s screening attendance information. “Again, the defendant is free to use this information at trial,” Wilson notes.
“It should also be noted that, in this letter, the defendant now fully asserts his “prompt outcry” guess from his reply as fact,” the Assistant D.A. affirms. “This is disingenuous and is further evidence of a concerted campaign by the defendant to try this case in the press using one-sided, incomplete and mischaracterized information,” Wilson slashes Brafman and Weinstein’s self described vigorous PR crew.
“The defendant also seeks the production of a recording allegedly made by law enforcement of a potential complaining witness related to this investigation. The People have investigated this claim and are not aware of any such recording.” In a footnote to his two-page letter, Wilson says: ‘The defendant claims to have credible evidence of the existence of this recording, but provides no detail. The People have been informed that the source of this information is a gossip news website.”
With their respective knives out, the prosecution and defense are scheduled to meet face to face in Justice Burke’s courtroom on December 20 – don’t think they will be exchanging Christmas presents.
Along with being accused by more than 60 women of sexual assault or sexual harassment, Weinstein is under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as the probe by the Manhattan D.A.’s office and the NYPD. Additional 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.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.