Embattled DA defends not prosecuting Weinstein, Trumps over the years


Embattled DA defends not prosecuting Weinstein, Trumps over the years

In 2015, after Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez caught Harvey Weinstein on tape pressuring her to enter his hotel room and apologizing for groping her breast the day prior, Cyrus Vance Jr., Manhattan District Attorney at the time, decided not to file criminal charges.

Once the recording was obtained by police, sources close to the investigation told the New Yorker that they supposedly had enough evidence to prosecute Weinstein. However, Boies' law firm, Boies Schiller Flexne, denies any connection between the donations and Vance's decision to not charge Weinstein.

Last week, the New York Times revealed that Weinstein had paid settlements to at least eight women, often actors and former assistants, after unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment.

But damned if the picture drawn in sound - the woman's agonized refusals ("I don't want to be touched"), the mogul's disgusting assertion that forcibly touching women without permission is just the way he works ("I'm used to that") - doesn't convey the chilling message to the women of NY that the law treads more lightly when the suspect in question is a wealthy and powerful bulldozer prepared to drag accusers through deep mud.

"Yes", he said before promising, "I won't do it again". They say Vance had the evidence two years ago and chose not to do anything with it. He runs a website, ReplaceManhattanDA.org, which he said "is very badly made, but that's the idea". This evidence, along with other statements and timeline information was presented to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney. "I've been trying to get him out by the electoral process but now we have on top of that, there is some weird things going on and we need to have transparency". Boies did not immediately respond to CNN requests for comment Wednesday afternoon.

"While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under NY law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent", Friedman said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon. The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime. Thanks to NYPD bungling, Freidman-Agnifilo concludes, their office had "no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges".

Vance - who has faced a wave of criticism recently for his 2015 decision to toss the Weinstein case and for dropping a probe into the Trump family - insisted he was guided by the law in the case and said he has no regrets.

A fixture of New York's legal and Democratic circles for years, Vance still has support from a fellow Democrat, Public Advocate Letitia James.

Despite significant progress in the investigation, the report said, the elder Donald Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, became involved in 2012 and donated $25,000 to Vance's re-election campaign, which made Kasowitz one of his largest donors. Her office did not dispute that she made the statement. Since Vance began running for district attorney, Boies' son Christopher has given Vance's campaigns $35,000.