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The criminal case against Harvey Weinstein sustained a blow Thursday when prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office dropped one of the charges against the disgraced film producer.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orban told the court she would drop count six of the indictment that involves Lucia Evans, the actress who accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex in 2004.
Prosecutors disclosed in a sealed September 12 letter to the defense that they discovered a written account from Evans that suggested the encounter was consensual.
Weinstein defense attorney Benjamin Brafman accused Evans of committing perjury when she testified to the grand jury. “Sexual assault is a serious crime but falsely accusing someone of sexual assault is also a serious crime,” Brafman said outside court Thursday.
Brafman said prosecutors discovered Evans’ written account about her encounter with Weinstein from a fact checker with The New Yorker and he said he would subpoena the magazine.
Weinstein’s defense team called the case “permanently and irreparably damaged” and said he would use the development to dismiss the whole case.
The defense said it would also subpoena police interview records after he said an NYPD detective “may have unfairly tainted these proceedings” when he prepared Evans for her testimony.
The detective has been removed from the case, Brafman said.
Evans’ attorney Carrie Goldberg said in a statement, “Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein. It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”
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