The Manhattan D.A.’s office filed its opposition on Wednesday to Harvey Weinstein’s motion to dismiss his rape case, rebutting Weinstein’s claims that grand jurors were kept in the dark about his consensual relationship with one of the accusers.
Weinstein’s attorney, Ben Brafman, has sought to have the whole case thrown out because the prosecution did not share affectionate emails between Weinstein and the alleged victim. The motion is set to be heard in a New York courtroom on Sept. 20.
In its opposition, the D.A.’s office argued that it provided “a full and fair account of the relationship between defendant and the victim both before and after the charged rape.”
“Defendant does not allege, because he cannot, that any of the emails contain a denial of the charged rape,” wrote Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, an assistant D.A. “Rather, defendant claims that, at most, the emails could suggest a state of mind inconsistent with what defendant feels should be that of a rape victim.”
Brafman fought for months to obtain the emails from the Weinstein Co. He quoted about 40 of them in his motion to dismiss the case, including one from 2017, in which the woman told Weinstein, “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call.”
Weinstein faces six charges of rape, criminal sexual acts, and predatory sexual assault, involving three victims. He could face life in prison if convicted.
Illuzzi-Orbon also pushed back on Brafman’s claims that the D.A.’s office was under political pressure to indict Weinstein. The office had declined to prosecute Weinstein for allegedly groping Italian model Ambra Battilana in 2015, angering NYPD detectives who thought they had a solid case against him. In April, Gov. Andrew Cuomo asked then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
In her opposition, Illuzzi-Orbon argued that the decision to indict was up to the grand jury, which was insulated from political considerations.
“Grand Jury members are under no pressure to indict or not,” she wrote. “Their vote is secret. Their deliberations are secret. The defendant, in his accusations against the District Attorney, fails to explain how this supposed pressure translated to the independent deliberations and vote of the Grand Jury.”
The prosecution responded to the defense motion on only five of the six counts. The sixth count pertains to Weinstein’s alleged forcible oral copulation of Lucia Evans in 2004. On that count, Illuzzi-Orbon alluded to “recent developments” which are subject to an ongoing investigation. Additional information was provided to the defense subject to a confidentiality order. Brafman had argued that count should be dismissed because Evans was vague about when the incident occurred, alleging it took place sometime between June 1 and September 1 of 2004.
Brafman issued a statement responding to the opposition: “We believe that the People’s response in its entirety makes it absolutely clear that the case against Mr. Weinstein cannot be successfully prosecuted. Period.”