Wednesday 21 November 2018

Weinstein lawyers try again to get sex assault case thrown out

The former Hollywood producer’s lawyers singled out a detective described as ‘a serial obstructor’.

Harvey Weinstein (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
Harvey Weinstein (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

By Michael R Sisak and Jennifer Peltz, Associated Press

Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers have asked to question in court the former lead detective in his sexual assault case and the head of New York City’s special victims division, arguing the case has been “irreparably tainted” by police misconduct and should be thrown out.

The former Hollywood producer’s lawyers singled out Detective Nicholas DiGaudio — whose alleged witness coaching led prosecutors to abandon part of the case last month — as they renewed their push to have the rest of it thrown out.

The lawyers described Mr DiGaudio in court papers as “a serial obstructor” who was “singularly hell-bent on concealing the truth” and proposed an evidentiary hearing be held to “determine the extent of misconduct”.

They asked that the head of the special victims division, Michael Osgood, also be called to give evidence.

The sheer hypocrisy of the indictment is simply stunning Weinstein's lawyers

New York Police Department reiterated its statement that “the evidence against Mr Weinstein is compelling and strong” and it will continue to work with prosecutions “to deliver justice for the courageous survivors who have bravely come forward”.

Three of the five remaining criminal charges against Weinstein stem from allegations he raped a woman in 2013. Two other charges allege he performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

Weinstein denies all allegations of non-consensual sex.

His lawyers argued the remaining charges are also undermined by messages the accusers exchanged with him after they were allegedly assaulted. The messages were not shown to the grand jury that indicted Weinstein, his lawyers said.

The 2013 rape allegation is contradicted by warm emails the accuser sent Weinstein after the date of the alleged attack that show an intimate, consensual relationship, his lawyers said.

The 2006 accuser sent Weinstein a text message about seven months after the alleged incident asking to see him, the lawyers said.

Weinstein’s lawyers knocked prosecutors for failing to tell the grand jury that those accusers “had the temerity to reach out to (Weinstein) and try to engage him in social relationships — ‘after’ they now claim he viciously sexually assaulted them”.

“The sheer hypocrisy of the indictment is simply stunning,” they wrote.

Their defence of Mr Weinstein as to my client appears to be built on quicksand rather than on a strong factual foundation Gloria Allred

Gloria Allred, a lawyer for the 2006 accuser, said in an email that the Weinstein filing was “replete with unjustified speculation” that is “completely contradicted by the facts”.

“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,” Ms Allred said.

“Their defence of Mr Weinstein as to my client appears to be built on quicksand rather than on a strong factual foundation.”

Press Association

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