Harvey Weinstein case: Charge dismissed over ‘new information’

New York judge takes action after accuser allegedly gave differing account of incident

Harvey Weinstein sits during his hearing at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US. Photograph: Steven Hirsch/Pool via Reuters

Harvey Weinstein sits during his hearing at Manhattan criminal court in New York, US. Photograph: Steven Hirsch/Pool via Reuters

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A New York judge on Thursday dismissed one of the six criminal charges against movie producer Harvey Weinstein after prosecutors said they could not oppose the dismissal in light of information they had learned while investigating the case.

The dismissed charge concerns an alleged sexual assault of an aspiring actor by Mr Weinstein in 2004. Five other charges, involving alleged assaults of two other women, remain in the case in Manhattan criminal court. Mr Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Mr Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he would seek dismissal of the remaining charges as well. He also said that he would investigate what he described as “perjury” before the grand jury that indicted Mr Weinstein, and the conduct of a New York City police detective involved in the case.

The woman who accused Mr Weinstein of assaulting her in 2004, Lucia Evans, told the New Yorker in October 2017 that Mr Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him when she was a 21-year-old college student.

“I want to be very clear that prosecutor’s decision to abandon my client’s claims does not invalidate the truth of her claims,” Carrie Goldberg, a lawyer for Ms Evans, told reporters outside the courthouse following Thursday’s hearing.

Following the hearing, the office of Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance made public a letter it had sent to Mr Brafman last month disclosing that an unnamed witness had told them that she had heard an account of the alleged assault from Ms Evans that was different to the one Ms Evans gave to Mr Vance’s office.

Mr Vance’s office also learned that the witness had given this other account to a New York City police detective, who failed to inform prosecutors, according to the letter.

Denials

Mr Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone following accusations by more than 70 women, mostly young actors and other women employed in the movie business, of sexual misconduct, including rape, dating back decades.

The accusations led to the #MeToo movement through which hundreds of women publicly accused powerful men in business, politics and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.

As the accusations against Mr Weinstein mounted, his company The Weinstein Company fired him and filed for bankruptcy, and he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. – Reuters

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