Harvey Weinstein wins a round in court; the prosecution weakened

Harvey Weinstein gagne une manche en justice; l’accusation affaiblie

NEW YORK – A judge in new york has cancelled Thursday, one of the six charges on the film producer fallen Harvey Weinstein, a victory for the defense, which is now able to call into question or undermine the testimony of two of the three alleged victims.

Before the decision of the magistrate, the public prosecutor had agreed to the cancellation of the charge for sexual assault, as a result of the weakening of the testimony of Lucia Evans, who accused Harvey Weinstein of fellatio forced in 2004.

The lawyer of the former mogul of Hollywood, Benjamin Brafman, has indicated that a document included in the record contradicted the version of Mrs. Evans.

According to several american media, the latter was told to have actually done a blow to Harvey Weinstein, but of his own free will, to get a role.

So far known only to the parties and the judge, the document will be soon made public.

“This is a very important development”, commented after the hearing, Mr. Brafman, who has suggested that the public ministry should pursue Ms. Evans for perjury.

The defense seeks to invalidate the entire proceedings and has filed, in early August, an appeal in this sense, producing elements designed to discredit another of the three women claiming to be the victim of Harvey Weinstein.

The judge has yet to rule on this appeal, which has unearthed correspondence showing that the alleged victim has maintained close contact and emotional with Harvey Weinstein after the sexual assault alleged.

He has fixed the next hearing on December 20.

“It is not a matter of stigmatizing the victims,” said Mr. Brafman, or “suggest that a woman who bears witness should not be believed”.

“This is the proof that a person who testified he lied to a grand jury,” he added, in reference to the jury which ruled on the validity of the charges.

“The decision of the prosecutor to abandon my client, Lucia Evans, does not invalidate the truthfulness of his accusations,” commented the lawyer of Mrs. Evans, Carrie Goldberg. “It puts a light on in the system that must be reformed.”

“An easy target”

Immediately after we have accepted the cancellation of the charge, the representative of the prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, has warned that the prosecution did not intend to move back more, on the contrary: “We are moving forward at full speed”, was launched at the hearing.

It is, however, a serious setback for the prosecution. The convictions in respect of sexual offences are rare compared to the number of people claiming to be victims of such acts, especially when it comes to ancient facts, as is the case here.

Mr. Weinstein was arrested in late may in New York, eight months after the publication of the first accusations of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape aimed.

He has been accused of rape, forced sexual act and oral sex forced – this latter charge having been cancelled on Thursday.

The 66-year old man has acknowledged several relationships with women who pose as victims, including the principal alleged victim of the criminal case, but has always maintained that these reports were made.

“He is relieved and, to a certain extent, satisfied”, said of his client, Benjamin Brafman, Thursday.

Since the scandal about the sexual abuse alleged in the producer broke out in October, nearly a hundred women – including celebs like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek have claimed to have been victims of the former giant of Hollywood.

On Thursday, the main advocate of Harvey Weinstein hinted that the attorney of Manhattan, Cyrus Vance, had charged the ex-producer under the pressure of the media and the general public.

“What happened is that Harvey Weinstein had been so vilified that it was considered an easy target”, that it was necessary to indict, said Benjamin Brafman, who represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the case of Nafissatou Diallo.

The attorney Vance has also been harshly criticized by the lawyer of Lucia Evans, who is being questioned about his possible “bias” in favor of “men of power” accused of sex crimes.

“People wonder why victims of sexual assault do not call to justice. That’s why,” she estimated.

Recognizing that the freedom of speech of the victims, became a tidal wave for a year, was a good thing, Benjamin Brafman, has however criticised what he considered excesses of this wave of accusations.

“When a movement grows a prosecutor to detain people who have not committed a crime and charge them for it, then, it is a dangerous movement,” he tempêté.

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