We­in­stein lawyers back in court

Try again to get movie mogul’s sex as­sault case tossed

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - ENTERTAINMENT - MICHAEL R. SISAK and JEN­NIFER PELTZ

NEW YORK—Har­vey We­in­stein’ s lawyers asked Mon­day for a chance 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 five re­main­ing counts dis­missed.

The lawyers de­cried 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 spe­cial vic­tims chief Michael Os­good also be called to tes­tify be­cause he has said he and DiGau­dio in­ter­viewed all po­ten­tial wit­nesses to­gether.

The Man­hat­tan District At­tor­ney’s Of­fice de­clined to com­ment.

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

The union rep­re­sent­ing DiGau­dio, the De­tec­tives’ En­dow­ment As­so­ci­a­tion, did not im­me­di­ately re­spond. It has pre­vi­ously said DiGau­dio “was sim- ply try­ing to get to the truth” and wasn’t try­ing to in­flu­ence the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Three of the five re­main­ing crim­i­nal charges against We­in­stein stem from al­le­ga­tions he raped a woman in a ho­tel room in March 2013. They are also tainted by al­le­ga­tions DiGau­dio be­haved im­prop­erly. The two other charges al­lege We­in­stein forcibly per­formed oral sex on her in 2006 at his Man­hat­tan apart­ment.

Pros­e­cu­tors dropped a sixth charge, al­leg­ing We­in­stein forced Lu­cia Evans to per­form oral sex in 2004 when she was a col­lege student and fledg­ling ac­tress, last month after ev­i­dence sur­faced that DiGau­dio told her friend to keep quiet when she raised doubts about the ve­rac­ity of the al­le­ga­tions.

As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Joan Il­luzzi-Or­bon said in a let­ter to We­in­stein lawyer Ben­jamin Braf­man that was un­sealed on Oct. 11 that DiGau­dio had ad­vised the wit­ness that “less is more.”

Days later, Il­luzzi-Or­bon dis­closed an al­le­ga­tion that DiGau­dio urged We­in­stein’s 2013 rape ac­cuser to delete ma­te­rial from her cell­phones be­fore hand­ing them over to pros­e­cu­tors. She said that the ma­te­rial didn’t per­tain to We­in­stein and that the woman wound up not delet­ing any­thing.

We­in­stein, 66, de­nies all al­le­ga­tions of non­con­sen­sual sex.

We­in­stein’s lawyers, in their fil­ing, also again knocked pros­e­cu­tors for fail­ing to show the grand jury that in­dicted him ev­i­dence they con­tend un­der­mines the re­main­ing al­le­ga­tions.

Re­peat­ing an ear­lier ar­gu­ment, We­in­stein’s lawyers cited warm emails they said the 2013 ac­cuser sent after the date of the al­leged at­tack in which she wel­comed plans to get to­gether with We­in­stein, sought ad­vice and told him no one “un­der­stands me quite like you.”

In a new rev­e­la­tion, We­in­stein’s lawyers said the 2006 ac­cuser was also in con­tact with him after the date she later told au­thor­i­ties she was as­saulted. That ac­cuser sent a text mes­sage about seven months later seek­ing to meet with We­in­stein, the lawyers said.

“(The 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 lawyers wrote. “The sheer hypocrisy of the in­dict­ment is sim­ply stun­ning.”

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

Allred’s client, a for­mer film pro­duc­tion as­sis­tant, went pub­lic with her al­le­ga­tions last Oc­to­ber but has since said that she wanted to main­tain her pri­vacy and pre­ferred that her name not be used.

In an­other wrin­kle, We­in­stein’s lawyers ar­gued that by drop­ping the Evans-re­lated charge, pros­e­cu­tors washed away the le­gal foun­da­tion for an­other charge, preda­tory sex­ual as­sault, which car­ries a max­i­mum sen­tence of life in prison upon con­vic­tion.

The Associated Press gen­er­ally does not iden­tify peo­ple who say they are vic­tims of sex­ual as­sault un­less they con­sent to be­ing iden­ti­fied pub­licly, as Evans has.

AP FILES

Har­vey We­in­stein ar­rives to court in New York. We­in­stein’s lawyers are mak­ing a new at­tempt to get the New York sex­ual as­sault case against him dis­missed. The for­mer Hol­ly­wood pro­ducer’s at­tor­neys say in a court fil­ing Mon­day, Nov. 5, his in­dict­ment was “ir­repara­bly tainted by po­lice mis­con­duct,” among other prob­lems.

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