A woman who has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape recently told New York prosecutors that the lead detective on the case told her to delete data from her phone.
Manhattan D.A.’s office made the disclosure in a letter sent Tuesday to Weinstein’s defense attorney. It marks another setback in the prosecution. Last week, the D.A.’s office agreed to drop one of the six charges against Weinstein, after disclosing that the same detective, Nicholas DiGaudio, failed to inform prosecutors of conflicts in another accuser’s account.
DiGaudio is no longer the lead investigator on the case.
The new revelations relate to an accuser who alleges that Weinstein raped her in a hotel room in 2013. Her allegations form the basis of three of the remaining five counts against Weinstein. The woman’s identity has not been released, but Weinstein’s attorney has said that she had a long-term consensual relationship with the disgraced producer.
The letter does not indicate that any evidence was actually withheld. In it, the prosecutor’s office says that it had asked the woman to produce any cell phones she may have used during her interactions with Weinstein. She talked about the request with DiGaudio, and expressed concerns that her phones contained significant personal data in addition to records of interactions with Weinstein.
The D.A.’s office states that DiGaudio told her to “delete anything she did not want anyone to see before providing the phones to our office.” DiGaudio added, “We just won’t tell Joan,” referring to Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, the lead prosecutor on the case.
The woman said she did not delete anything from her phones, and retained an attorney for advice. She turned over the phones without any deletions to the D.A.’s office. The woman and her attorney came forward to the D.A.’s office last week, as prosecutors were preparing to agree to dismiss the sixth charge in the indictment.
Weinstein’s attorney, Ben Brafman, has disclosed about 40 friendly emails from the rape accuser, which continued for years after the alleged rape occurred. Brafman has blasted the NYPD’s handling of the case and sought to have it dismissed in its entirety.
“This new development even further undermines the integrity of an already deeply flawed indictment of Mr Weinstein,” Brafman said in a statement.