Lawyers representing scandal-scarred movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have filed a motion to have the five remaining sex crimes charges against him in New York’s Supreme Court tossed.
The attorney says in court documents that the entire case was based on a “defective Grand Jury proceeding” that was “irreparably tainted by police misconduct.”
Behind the move, according to Weinstein’s defense attorney Ben Brafman, is a series of alleged miscues made by the New York Police Department and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office in their attempts to convict the disgraced media mogul.
Brafman has also made it known through court documents that a February 2007 text message from Mimi Haleyi, one of three original complainants in the superseding indictment, was received by Weinstein seven months after he allegedly forced her to engage in oral sex.
“The defense’s speculation is not a substitute for evidence,” Haleyi’s lawyer, attorney Gloria Allred said in a statement. “If they are engaging in speculation as to my client, I believe that they are lacking in facts which would exculpate their client Mr. Weinstein,” she said, adding that their defense of Weinstein as to her client “appears to be built on quicksand rather than on a strong factual foundation.”
Judge James Burke granted a motion last month to dismiss one of six felony charges levied against Weinstein, CNN has reported. The charge, a criminal sexual act in the first degree, “involved aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca, New York office in 2004. Her account was first made public by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker last fall. The charge was dropped, in part, because prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon cited alleged inconsistencies in Evans’ story in a letter sent to Brafman.”
According to the letter, CNN continued, “a friend of Evans allegedly told NYPD Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, the former lead investigator on the Weinstein case, that Evans told her she had engaged in consensual contact with Weinstein: oral sex in exchange for a job. Detective DiGaudio, now the subject of an internal NYPD investigation and removed from the Weinstein case, responded to the friend’s claims by saying that, going forward, “less is more,” and that the witness had no obligation to cooperate, according to the letter from the prosecutor’s office. He never went back to the DA’s office with this information, according to Monday’s motion.”
In another unfolding part of the controversy, this one involving the disbursal of the $289 million from the sale of The Weinstein Company’s assets to Lantern Entertainment, questions are being raised about who is in charge of disbursing the funds to the women who claim to have been victimized.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Weinstein Company is now requesting that the Committee of Unsecured Creditors be given the authority to investigate, prosecute and settle claims. “If the judge grants the motion, it will mean that at least two of Weinstein’s accusers — Louisette Geiss and Sandeep Rehal — will have a role in resolving allegations from other Weinstein accusers. Also on the Committee is Cinedigm, Light Chaser Animation and William Morris Endeavor, each mindful of those in the entertainment industry who are owed money from the debtor.”
The magazine called it a “slightly unusual arrangement for settling claims as Geiss is currently leading a racketeering class action against The Weinstein Company and its board members for allegedly facilitating Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct. As such, she could have a role in determining what The Weinstein Company pays to settle that lawsuit.” The Committee would also be in a position to reject claims deemed to be less than meritorious.
By Howard M. Riell
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