A NY judge on Thursday dismissed one of six sexual assault allegations against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, which defence lawyers claim taints the entire case against him. Others said prosecutors had discovered old personal writings by Evans in which she suggested her encounter with Weinstein was consensual.
A letter dated September 12 that reportedly describes the Evans-Weinstein encounter as consensual will be unsealed later today by the court.
The ditched sexual assault count stemmed from allegations by Lucia Evans, who told the New Yorker a year ago that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex in his office in 2004.
Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the judge he believed Evans lied to the grand jury.
Ms Evans has told U.S. media that Mr Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
There were also allegations that a police detective may have improperly coached a witness prior to her testimony before the grand jury, Diamond reported earlier.
In a statement, a lawyer for Evans said that she was disappointed by the district attorney's decision to "abandon" her client.
"We know of no evidence refuting our client's report that Harvey Weinstein forcefully sexually assaulted her", she said in a statement. Evans has denied the account, according to a D.A.'s letter, asserting that she never exposed her breasts to Weinstein or gave him oral sex. Nicholas DiGaudio interviewed a friend of Evans by telephone but told prosecutors she didn't want to cooperate, according to the filing. Rather, "it only speaks volumes about the Manhattan D.A.'s office and its mishandling of my client's case".
In a shocking disclosure, the pal said that she gave the same account to the detective during the February 2 phone interview while her attorney was present - adding that she had also told him that a fact checker from the New Yorker had called to confirm Evans' assault claims.
The office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had charged Mr. Weinstein with crimes including rape and predatory sexual assault. At the time, Vance cited a lack of supporting evidence, despite the existence of a clandestinely made recording of Weinstein discussing the episode with the woman.
It leaves Weinstein facing allegations largely related to two women, but Brafman argued that Evans' "perjury" also taints the first count against Weinstein, if not the entire case.
In the months after The New York Times and The New Yorker began publishing stories about Weinstein's interactions with women, activists pressured Vance to bring charges as dozens of people came forward with claims of sexual misconduct against him.
Weinstein is free on $1 million bail and is due back in court December 20.
New York Police officials poured on the pressure, too, saying publicly that they believed they had gathered ample evidence to make an arrest.
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