Harvey Weinstein’s sex with accusers ‘was consensual’, lawyer says, seeking to dismiss charges
‘More than 400 warm, complimentary and solicitous emails’ show the disgraced movie mogul had ‘a consensual, intimate relationship’ with an alleged rape victim, lawyer Benjamin Brafman says
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer filed an extensive motion to dismiss his client’s indictment on multiple sex charges, arguing that grand jurors never saw evidence favourable to his case, including emails in which a woman the movie mogul is accused of raping allegedly professed her love for him years afterward.
Weinstein was indicted in New York in May and again in July on charges that he assaulted three women. He has pleaded not guilty and is free on US$1 million bail and GPS monitoring.
His lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, on Friday asked a judge in Manhattan to dismiss the sexual assault charges, saying all the relationships between the former Hollywood studio head and his accusers were consensual.
In the motion, Brafman said that Weinstein and the woman he is charged with raping twice in 2013 had “extensive communications and contact immediately following the now claimed forcible rape”.
The communications, he said, “reflect a consensual, intimate relationship with Mr. Weinstein in an exchange of more than 400 warm, complimentary and solicitous emails with an alleged rapist for more than four years after the alleged rape, never once in those communications claiming to have ever been harmed by Mr. Weinstein.”
In a court filing, Weinstein’s lawyers included emails allegedly written by the woman between April 2013 and February 2017. According to the filing, in an April 2013 email, she wrote: “It would be great to see you again, and catch up!”
In January 2014, she allegedly wrote: “You’re the one who makes it look good with your smile and beautiful eyes.”
The emails continued into last year, according to the court filing, when the woman professed her love for Weinstein, but also concern about their relationship with a smile symbol.
“I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call,” according to the court filing.
In a bankruptcy court filing in Delaware this week related to the dissolution of Weinstein Co, the former mogul’s lawyers argued that “it is Mr. Weinstein’s belief that these emails are material and exculpatory and the failure of the district attorney to provide this evidence to the grand jury warrants a dismissal of the indictment”.
When Weinstein was fired by his company last year, the emails were turned over to his legal team. But the bankruptcy judge later issued a protective order forbidding their dissemination to shield his accuser.
On Thursday, the judge ruled that Weinstein’s team could use the emails in the New York criminal case if they did not reveal the woman’s name.
In addition to the charges in New York, Weinstein is the subject of more than a dozen investigations in London, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County district attorney is reviewing criminal accusations against the producer lodged with law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, including an Italian actress’ allegations of rape.
Friday was the deadline to file pretrial motions in the New York case.