New York judge dismisses one sexual assault charge against Weinstein

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Harvey Weinstein, right, leaves at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on Thursday. — AFP

NEW YORK — A New York judge on Thursday dismissed one of six sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, handing the defense a win with the former Hollywood mogul’s team claiming the entire case has been tainted.

Weinstein, an international pariah after being accused by more than 80 women of sexual misconduct, is still accused of alleged rape in March 2013 and an another sexual assault in 2006, which could see him spend the rest of his life in prison if ever convicted.

The 66-year-old father of five, out on a $1 million bail and forced to wear a GPS monitor, long pleaded not guilty to the six original counts allegedly committed against three women in 2004, 2006 and 2013.

On Thursday he sat in a criminal court in downtown Manhattan dressed in a dark suit, tie and white shirt to hear the judge toss out a case lodged by Lucia Evans against him in 2004.

Defense lawyer Ben Brafman told the court that a document had come to light contradicting her version of events.

It leaves Weinstein fending off allegations related to two other women, but Brafman argued that Evans’ “perjury” also taints the first count against Weinstein, if not the entire case.

“When one of the principle allegations in this indictment is predicated on perjured testimony that’s a very big, important development,” Brafman told reporters.

“I think this grand jury is irreparably damaged. I think the case against Mr. Weinstein is, in my view, not sustainable,” Brafman added, saying he would submit additional motions in November.

“I’m not certain he (the judge) will have any choice but to dismiss the entire indictment against Harvey Weinstein,” Brafman said.

A lawyer for Evans spoke out in her defense and other survivors of sexual assault, who have been galvanized by the #MeToo movement.

“Her bravery last October, an entire year ago, inspired countless people to come forward,” the lawyer told reporters outside the court.

“Over 80 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual violence and if our justice system fails to hold him criminally accountable then something is wrong with our justice system,” she said.

“The case against Harvey Weinstein is far from over and we expect the district attorney to move forward with the other cases. Lucia will continue her fight in other venues.”

Brafman asked in August for the entire case against Weinstein be thrown out, disclosing dozens of intimate emails between his client and his alleged rape victim, in which she said “I love you.”

#MeToo campaigners fervently hope that the twice-married father of five — whom nearly 100 women have publicly accused of sexual misconduct — will be put on trial, convicted and sent to prison.

Brafman, who helped former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn escape criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011, wants the entire indictment against Weinstein to be dismissed.

In August, he claimed that the district attorney failed to present the emails, tainting the grand jury’s indictment process.

Messages sent from weeks to four years after the alleged 2013 rape showed that Weinstein and the woman were in a “long-term, consensual, intimate relationship,” Brafman claimed.

Weinstein’s career imploded a year ago in a blaze of accusations of misconduct and abuse from dozens of women that triggered a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the #MeToo movement. — AFP


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