Unsealed letter reveals how Weinstein sex assault charge unraveled
In a stunning letter unsealed Thursday, Manhattan prosecutors disclosed serious credibility issues with one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers — and possible police misconduct.
The Sept. 12 letter from Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon to defense lawyer Ben Brafman was filed under a protective order, which Justice James Burke lifted Thursday.
On Feb. 2, Det. Nicholas DiGaudio interviewed a friend of Weinstein accuser Lucia Evans by telephone but told prosecutors she didn’t want to cooperate, according to the filing.
About six months later, prosecutors interviewed the pal, who said that she was with Evans at a Manhattan bar in the summer of 2004 when Weinstein offered the women “cash if they exposed their breasts to him.”
Evans told her friend when they walked home that night that she had flashed her breasts to Weinstein in the restaurant’s hallway.
Sometime later, Evans told the pal that she had gone to Weinstein’s office “where the Defendant told her, in substance, that he would arrange for the Complainant to receive an acting job if she agreed to perform oral sex upon him.”
The friend told prosecutors that Evans admitted she performed the sex act and during the conversation was “upset, embarrassed and shaking.”
In a shocking disclosure, the pal said that she gave the same account to the detective during the Feb. 2 phone interview while her attorney was present — adding that she had also told him that a fact checker from the New Yorker had called to confirm Evans’ assault claims.
She chose not to provide details to the magazine but told them “something inappropriate happened,” according to the letter.
DiGaudio never turned over the statements to prosecutors.
Prosecutors dismiss one count in criminal case against Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case in danger of falling apart
Harvey Weinstein in billing dispute with civil defense firm
Helena Bonham Carter says it was hard to stand up to Harvey Weinstein
Further, the friend and her attorney told the DA that DiGaudio said, “going forward, ‘less is more;’ and that the Witness had no obligation to cooperate.”
Evans denied her friend’s account and insisted that she was forced to perform oral sex on Weinstein, the court filing says.
Prosecutors confronted the detective, who admitted he’d failed to turn over the damning details but denied discouraging the witness from cooperating.
In another blow to the case, prosecutors obtained a 2015 draft email that Evans wrote to her husband, who was then her fiancé, in which she recounted the encounter with Weinstein.
“The account describes details of the sexual assault that differs from the account the Complainant has provided to our office,” the letter states.
In another inconsistency, she said she let her husband read the draft email, though she previously told investigators that she never told him about the alleged attack.
Brafman accused Evans of lying and DiGaudio of committing “serious criminal conduct.”
He also blamed the New Yorker, which broke the story, for failing to properly fact check Evans’ claims.
A spokesman for the magazine shot back: “We stand by our reporting and fact-checking process, which was assiduous and thorough. Any assertion by lawyers for Harvey Weinstein that The New Yorker had information that contradicted Lucia Evans’s account is patently incorrect.”
Source: Read Full Article