In interviews with the Daily Beast and The New Yorker, NYPD officers involved in a 2015 sexual assault accusation against Harvey Weinstein expressed bewilderment that the mogul was not charged following the incident. Police were approached by Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, an Italian actress who accused Weinstein of groping her at a business meeting. After consulting with police, Gutierrez met Weinstein the next day wearing a wire; in the recording of that meeting Weinstein is heard admitting to the groping and attempting to coerce Gutierrez into his hotel room. As law enforcement sources told The New Yorker, such a case would usually merit a charge of third-degree sexual abuse, a misdemeanor. Instead, Weinstein was never charged.
In a statement Tuesday afternoon, the Manhattan district attorney’s office disputed the implication that Weinstein had used his influence to escape charges. (Weinstein’s lawyer was a campaign donor to DA Cyrus Vance.) In the statement, ADA Karen Friedman Agnifilo puts the blame for the case falling apart at the feet of the NYPD. “The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime,” Agnifilo writes. “While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.”
Read the full statement below:
Update: The NYPD has released a statement about the 2015 sexual assault allegation against Weinstein, pushing back on the statement from the DA’s office. The department says their recording “corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim’s complaint.”