A Manhattan judge refused to dismiss the sexual-assault case against Harvey Weinstein on Thursday, and his lawyer said he expects the case to move toward trial “fairly soon.”
Justice James Burke announced his decision in court without elaborating but released a six-page written decision shortly thereafter — which rejected Weinstein’s push for dismissal based upon alleged misconduct.
“The court finds that there is no basis for the defendant’s claim of prosecutorial or law enforcement misconduct in the proceedings, or pervasive falsity in and around the Grand Jury presentation,” Burke wrote. “Moreover, there is no basis in law that the conduct of law enforcement must be imputed to the prosecutor … The Court finds that the charges presented in the Grand Jury were supported by competent evidence and the proceedings were properly conducted.”
Regarding going to trial, Weinstein lawyer Ben Brafman said, “I think we will fairly soon.”
“We intend to vigorously defend this case to the best of our ability. We remain confident despite the court’s ruling today, that ultimately at a trial of this case Mr. Weinstein will be completely exonerated,” said Brafman, who described Burke’s decision as “technical.”
Actress Marisa Tomei appeared at Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday for Weinstein’s court appearance. Tomei declined to comment before the court proceeding. Actress Kathy Najimy also appeared, telling Vulture, “I’m here to hear the proceeding and support survivors.”
Weinstein had initially been accused by prosecutors of sexually assaulting three women: Lucia Evans, Mimi Haleyi, and an unnamed third woman.
By July, Weinstein had been indicted on charges of rape in the first and third degrees, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
While the case against Weinstein seemed like a victory for #MeToo, problems started to surface that questioned its legal viability, and Weinstein’s lawyers have been pushing for dismissal for months.
Weinstein’s lawyers alleged that prosecutors kept key information while presenting their case before the grand jury — namely, emails between the disgraced movie mogul and accusers. His lawyers also claimed that NYPD Detective Nicholas DiGaudio didn’t disclose important information to prosecutors; Burke agreed during an October 11 proceeding to dismiss the count against that related to Evans’s accusation.
Regarding the alleged inconsistencies, Evans had claimed that Weinstein forced her into oral sex during the summer of 2004. During the proceeding before Burke, prosecutors made public a letter indicating that a witness undermined Evans’s story. Perhaps more shockingly, the letter indicated that DiGaudio kept this apparent inconsistency from prosecutors.
Evans claimed Weinstein told her that he would “arrange for [her] to receive an acting job if she agreed to perform oral sex on him … according to the witness, [Evans] told her that she thereupon performed oral sex on the defendant,” according to prosecutors’ letter.
The witness disclosed to prosecutors that she told DiGaudio about Evans’s statements in February. DiGaudio later told prosecutors that he “failed to inform our office of the important details,” per the letter.
It was later revealed that DiGaudio told an accuser that she could scrub personal information from her cell phones — even though she was supposed to give these phones to prosecutors.
Weinstein’s legal team also claimed that an accuser attended a film with him “hours” after the alleged attack.
They claim that this accuser tried to recruit a friend to serve as a “fabricated” outcry witness.