Saturday 18 August 2018

Harvey Weinstein files motion to dismiss sexual assault charges

His lawyers say the grand jury was not shown evidence that is important for his defence.

Harvey Weinstein has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges he faces (Ian West/PA)
Harvey Weinstein has filed a motion to dismiss the criminal charges he faces (Ian West/PA)

Laura Harding

Lawyers for Harvey Weinstein have filed a motion to have the criminal case against him dismissed, claiming prosecutors failed to show exculpatory evidence to the grand jury.

The disgraced producer is charged with six sexual assault counts relating to three different women, including predatory sexual assault, criminal sexual act in the first degree, and rape in the first and third degrees.

Predatory sexual assault carries a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Weinstein has already pleaded not guilty to the charges involving two of the women.

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Harvey Weinstein faces charges relating to three women (David Mirzoe3ff/PA)

In court papers filed in New York on Friday, his lawyers said: “Based on published reports, the District Attorney’s Office conducted its investigation amidst overwhelming pressure from the media, politicians and high-ranking police officials demanding the arrest of Mr Weinstein.”

The motion says: “Mr Weinstein categorically denies that he had non-consensual sex with any person, and specifically the three accusers in the pending indictment.”

It adds the case “must be dismissed at the pretrial stage because it is legally infirm based on the District Attorney’s failure to provide exculpatory email evidence to the Grand Jury; failure to give adequate notice to the defence as requested that it was presenting new, far more serious charges to the Grand Jury; failure to indicate with sufficient specificity when the alleged crime in Count Six occurred; failure to prosecute Count Five within the five-year Statute of Limitations; and failure to provide the Grand Jury with sufficient evidence of the legally required element of force, as well as other Grand Jury deficiencies.

The motion includes dozens of emails submitted in evidence between Weinstein and one of his accusers, that his lawyers claim show an intimate relationship between them.

The communications took place after the date she alleges he raped her.

Ben Brafman, Weinstein’s laywer, said in a statement: “The motions filed today reflect the first opportunity for Mr Weinstein to present legal arguments as to why the indictment filed against him should be dismissed.

“Among the numerous grounds supporting dismissal, the motions reveal the existence of exculpatory evidence known to the prosecution but intentionally kept from the grand jurors, communications which corroborate Mr Weinstein’s factual innocence in this case.

“Attached to the motions are dozens of emails written by the anonymous accuser, who sent extensive warm, complimentary and solicitous messages to Mr Weinstein immediately following the now claimed event and over the next four-year period.

“These communications irrefutably reflect the true nature of this consensual intimate friendship, which never at any time included a forcible rape.”

A spokeswoman for the New York District Attorney declined to comment.

Weinstein is next due to appear in court on September 20.

Press Association

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