Manhattan DA drops part of Weinstein case

J. Countess  Getty Images North America

J. Countess Getty Images North America

A NY judge has dropped part of the criminal case against disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Appearing in court while wearing a Global Positioning System monitor and out on a $1m (£757,000) bail, the judge agreed to throw out the charge relating to Lucia Evans, who has accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex in 2004.

The ditched sexual assault count stemmed from allegations by Lucia Evans, who told the New Yorker a year ago that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex in his office in 2004. He previously pleaded not guilty to six felony sex crimes, stemming from allegations brought forward by three women.

Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon did not oppose the dismissal but added that this disclosure does not impact the strength of the remaining case.

One of the charges against Harvey Weinstein was dropped after evidence emerged that a police detective had urged a witness to keep quiet about inconsistencies in the accuser's accounts.

Weinstein appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday morning as Judge James Burke chose to dismiss count six of the eight-count indictment against the 66-year-old film producer.

An attorney for Evans told reporters outside the court that the prosecution "jumped ship" and "ultimately she was caught between the middle of a feud between the NYPD and the DA's office", according to CNN. They initially declined, but Evans later told her she had gone ahead and exposed herself to the film producer in a hallway.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jnr has already been fiercely criticised for declining to prosecute Weinstein when an Italian model accused him of grabbing her breasts in 2015.

The friend told prosecutors that Evans admitted she performed the sex act and during the conversation was "upset, embarrassed and shaking". At the time, she was a 21-year-old student and aspiring actress.

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An attorney for Evans told the Associated Press the dropping of the count "says nothing about Weinstein's guilt or innocence".

"When you do your homework after the arrest bad things happen", Brafman said. Outside court, he suggested Evans should be prosecuted for perjury.

"I think this grand jury is irreparably damaged".

A letter dated September 12 that reportedly describes the Evans-Weinstein encounter as consensual will be unsealed later today by the court.

"We take these allegations seriously", Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said.

Prosecutor confronted the detective, who admitted he'd failed to turn over the damning details, but denied discouraging the witness from cooperating. He also said he believed a police detective had corruptly attempted to influence the case by keeping the witness from testifying about her misstatements.

Evans' lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, insisted the case was strong.

The accusations led to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women publicly accuse powerful men in business, politics and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.

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