Less than an month away from a hearing that could determine if the criminal case against Harvey Weinstein has the legs to go forward, lawyers for the disgraced producer today assert that they have a new witness to prove one of the accusers in the case is making up her claims. Claiming further cover-up, they also hit back again at the Manhattan District Attorney and detectives at the NYPD in an effort to get the whole action dismissed.
“Counsel is not aware of any other sex crimes case in recent memory where the integrity of the investigation and the prosecution has been so severely compromised by evidence that is not even contested,” said a muscular defense filing Thursday in New York state court (read it here).
“As part of counsel’s ongoing investigation, the defense has recently located and interviewed a woman who was an extremely close friend of CW-1 before and after the alleged March 2013 rape,” the response Thursday to the opposition filed earlier this month by the D.A.’s office to the defense’s argument that the entire grand jury process had been tainted by police misconduct and perjury by one of the accusers.
“In the defense interview, the witness stated, in substance, that CW-1 and Mr. Weinstein were ‘hooking up’ for a ‘very long time’ and that she never heard CW-1 say anything bad about Mr. Weinstein during this time period, including March of 2013 when she CW-1 and Mr. Weinstein were all in New York together and also in 2015 when CW-1, Mr. Weinstein and the witness went out socially together,” the latest salvo in a battle that could see the much accused Weinstein behind bars for life stated. “In fact, the witness stated that CW-1 actually spoke very highly of Mr. Weinstein.”
“Perhaps most important, the witness further stated that the first time she ever heard CW-1 claim anything inappropriate against Mr. Weinstein was this past year,” attorney Ben Brafman declares, noting the flood of accusations that emerged against Weinstein since the publication of a New York Times expose in October 2017.
The often aggressive and media savvy attorney also states in today’s filing that the alleged victim recently tried unsuccessfully to convince her friend to say she had been told of the assault back in 2013 if asked by authorities. Outlining what he says was a “consensual sexual relationship” with Weinstein by the alleged victim, Brafman then claims that police did approach the friend, she told them she knew nothing about any assault but the NYPD and the D.A. never revealed that to his team or seemingly the Grand Jury that indicted Weinstein earlier this year.
Out on $1 million bail after having entered a not-guilty plea to the first round of indictments and surrendering his passport earlier this year, Weinstein saw one of the counts in the case dropped by the office of Cyrus Vance Jr. on October 11. After the hearing, an attorney for Lucia Evans, who had claimed the producer forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, said that the dropping of the count “says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence.” Rather, “it only speaks volumes about the Manhattan D.A.’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”
In the lead-up to the increasingly pivotal December 20 hearing before the New York Supreme Court’s Justice James Burke, this revelation could certain shake an increasingly unsteady case that many once treated like a slam dunk.
“To be clear, Mr. Weinstein is not asking this Court to dismiss the Superseding Indictment based only on some legal flaws and technicalities,” attorney Brafman made clear, in his own way. “Rather, Mr. Weinstein also seeks dismissal because the Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office have consistently violated his constitutional rights to a fair Grand Jury, by irreparably tainting the Grand Jury proceedings through purposeful misconduct, false testimony and the withholding of exculpatory evidence that seriously undermined the integrity of those proceedings.”
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office did not respond to request for comment on today’s filing.
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.