Sunday, 24 March, 2019

Judge refuses to dismiss sex assault charges against Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein arrives with his lawyer Ben Brafman for a court hearing at New York Criminal Court on Dec. 20 2018 Harvey Weinstein in court as judge declines to dismiss #MeToo sexual assault case against him - live updates
Angelica Greene | 22 December, 2018, 17:14

Harvey Weinstein didn't speak as he arrived at court Thursday morning as a NY judge is set to decide on the future of his sexual assault case, which has been clouded by allegations that police acted improperly in the investigation that led to his arrest.

Weinstein arrived in a NY court Thursday to receive Judge James Burke's ruling, following multiple controversies over the case.

The case has been clouded by allegations that police acted improperly in the investigation that led to his arrest.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Brafman says police misconduct, specifically the work of one investigator, has "irreparably tainted" the case.

However, prosecutors argued there's ample evidence to move forward to trial and Burke agreed.

He could be jailed for life if convicted. He also noted that prosecutors were not required to present all the evidence favourable to Weinstein to the grand jury.

As for the Weinstein defense team's attempts to discredit accusers by showing email correspondence with the producer, Burke wrote that "the defendant may explore any issues of witness credibility at a trial should such witnesses testify". "Frankly, we are relieved that Harvey Weinstein failed in his efforts to avoid accountability for his actions, and we are very happy that none of the charges were dismissed".

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The second argument is that Weinstein's accusers are lying about the nature of their sexual contact with the movie mogul.

In October, prosecutors disclosed these and other mistakes to Weinstein's lawyers, who moved to have the assault charge based on Evans' allegations thrown out.

The judge handed the lawyers a stack of papers, saying, "My decision - which does not dismiss the indictment".

In May, Weinstein was charged with rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for incidents involving the two women.

Bennett Gershman, who teaches law at Pace University, said he believes prosecutors have a solid case with the two remaining accusers, no matter what they may have said to Weinstein after the alleged assaults.

A dismissal of the charges would be a big setback to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who was criticised for declining to pursue criminal charges against Weinstein when he was accused of groping an Italian model in 2015.

He apparently told another accuser, Mimi Haleyi, who says Weinstein forced her into oral sex in 2006, to delete text messages that could be potentially embarrassing for her, despite prosecutors' advice not to do so. He is urging Burke to dismiss the case, writing in a recent court filing: 'The only reasonably prudent decision would be to stop this chaos now'.

Barbara Barron, a professor at Hofstra University School of Law, says the detective's conduct created a "surprise" in the Weinstein case.

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