Harvey Weinstein’s New York lawyer is seeking to dismiss the remaining five felony sex crime charges against the beleaguered movie producer, arguing that the entire Manhattan district attorney’s office's prosecution of the case is deeply flawed due to “admitted police misconduct.”
Attorney Benjamin Brafman filed a 137-page motion Monday, saying the grand jury indictment was tainted by police misconduct and failures to disclose key evidence, including a text message from one of the producer’s accusers.
In the text, Mimi Haleyi seems to seek to meet with the producer seven months after he allegedly sexually assaulted her.
“Hi! Just wondering if u have any news on whether harvey will have time to see me before he leaves? x Miriam,” she wrote in February 2007, according to Brafman’s motion.
Brafman’s filing again asserts that a true presentation of the evidence would reveal all the sexual acts were consensual and that the grand jury never saw the communication.
Weinstein surrendered to New York police in May and was originally charged with sexually assaulting three women between 2004 and 2014. Since a grand jury indicted Weinstein, Brafman has succeeded in getting one of the felony first-degree sexual assault charges dismissed.
That charge involved former actress Lucia Evans, who told a New York police detective that she exposed her breasts to Weinstein in a restaurant in 2004 and that he offered her a job in exchange for oral sex. Evans was among the first to accuse Weinstein in an article last fall in the New Yorker.
The dismissal came as a wedge seemed to appear between the Manhattan prosecutor’s office and the New York Police Department’s sex crimes unit. Det. Nicholas DiGaudio was removed from the investigation after it was revealed that he allegedly did not tell prosecutors of evidence pertaining to Evans.
Brafman is now seeking to undermine Haleyi’s accusations with her own communications. Haleyi, who made her identity public, has said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her while she was on her period.
Brafman previously released more than 40 emails that seemingly flatter the producer from an unidentified accuser in which she repeatedly seeks to meet with Weinstein after authorities said he raped her in a New York motel. Brafman has argued that the emails reflect a long-term consensual relationship; they were not shown to the grand jury that indicted Weinstein.
In the motion filed Monday, Brafman said that he been informed by the lead prosecutor that DiGaudio told the unidentified accuser that she “should delete anything she did not want anyone to see before providing [her] phones to our office.” He allegedly then said, “We just won’t tell Joan” Illuzi-Osborn, the lead prosecutor.
DiGaudio is a veteran sex crimes investigator who has served on the NYPD for more than 30 years, said Det. Michael Palladino, president of the union that represents NYPD detectives. In a statement, Palladino dismissed the development as irrelevant and accused the district attorney’s office of attacking DiGaudio to cover up its own failings in the Weinstein case.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexually inappropriate conduct since the New York Times and New Yorker stories exposed decades of allegations against the producer.