Lawyer to Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood tycoon, demanded on Friday that a New York court throw out the entire criminal sex case against his client, disclosing dozens of intimate emails between Weinstein and his alleged rape victim.
Ben Brafman, one of America’s most celebrated defense attorneys who helped former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn escape criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in New York in 2011, called for the entire indictment against Weinstein to be dismissed, based on the emails and a series of technicalities.
The 66-year-old is out on bail and pleads not guilty to six counts allegedly committed against three women in 2004, 2006 and 2013. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for September 20.
“Mr Weinstein categorically denies that he had non-consensual sex with any person, and specifically the three accusers in the pending indictment,” Brafman wrote in the 159-page filing, that included multiple exhibits.
“The pending indictment against Mr Weinstein must be dismissed at the pretrial stage because it is legally infirm,” he added.
Brafman’s filing quoted from dozens of emails between Weinstein and the alleged rape victim, saying they should not have been kept from the grand jury that returned the indictments against the former producer.
Emails sent in the weeks, months and even years after the alleged 2013 rape “reasonably could be understood by the grand jury as far more consistent with an ongoing warm, friendly, relationship,” Brafman said.
“I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call. :),” she apparently emailed Weinstein in February 2017.
In July 2014, she wrote to say: “Just had u cross my mind and thought u would send a hello.” When Weinstein apparently replied: “Love to cross your mind it’s my favorite exercise,” she answered: “Lol that made me laugh so hard.”
Messages appeared to show her arranging to meet up with Weinstein, looking forward to introducing him to her mother, making contact when she needed help securing a job and for comfort when her father was ill, he said.
The former Hollywood producer risks being jailed for life if put on trial and convicted of the most serious charge against him, predatory sexual assault.
His career imploded in October in a blaze of accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse from dozens of women that triggered a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the #MeToo movement.