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Harvey Weinstein attends a hearing in New York 11 Oct. Steven Hirsch via PA images
lucia evans

One sexual assault charge dismissed against Harvey Weinstein

A New York judge has tossed out a forced act of oral sex lodged by Lucia Evans against Weinstein in 2004.

A NEW YORK judge has dismissed one of six sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, handing the defence a win with the former Hollywood mogul’s team claiming the entire case has been tainted.

Weinstein, an international pariah after being accused by more than 80 women of sexual misconduct, is still accused of alleged rape in March 2013 and a forced act of oral sex in 2006, which could see him spend the rest of his life in prison if ever convicted.

The 66-year-old father of five, out on a $1 million bail and forced to wear a GPS monitor, long pleaded not guilty to the six original counts allegedly committed against three women in 2004, 2006 and 2013.

Today, he sat in a criminal court in downtown Manhattan dressed in a dark suit, tie and white shirt to hear the judge toss out a forced act of oral sex lodged by Lucia Evans against him in 2004.

Defence lawyer Ben Brafman told the court that a document had come to light contradicting her version of events.

Sexual Misconduct Weinstein Harvey Weinstein, left, and his attorney Benjamin Brafman attend a hearing in New York. 11 Oct. Steven Hirsch Steven Hirsch

According to US media, there is evidence that Evans, an aspiring actress at the time, may have performed oral sex on Weinstein of her own free will, in the hope of obtaining an acting part.

It leaves Weinstein fending off allegations related to two other women, but Brafman argued that Evans’ “perjury” also taints the first count against Weinstein, if not the entire case.

“When one of the principal allegations in this indictment is predicated on perjured testimony that’s a very big, important development,” Brafman told reporters.

“I think this grand jury is irreparably damaged. I think the case against Weinstein is, in my view, not sustainable,” Brafman added, saying he would submit additional motions in November.

“I’m not certain he (the judge) will have any choice but to dismiss the entire indictment against Harvey Weinstein,” Brafman said.

 ’Case far from over’ 

A lawyer for Evans spoke out in her defence and other survivors of sexual assault, who have been galvanized by the #MeToo movement.

“Her bravery last October, an entire year ago, inspired countless people to come forward,” the lawyer told reporters outside the court.

“Over 80 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual violence and if our justice system fails to hold him criminally accountable then something is wrong with our justice system,” she said.

“The case against Harvey Weinstein is far from over and we expect the district attorney to move forward with the other cases. Lucia will continue her fight in other venues.”

Brafman asked in August for the entire case against Weinstein be thrown out, disclosing dozens of intimate emails between his client and his alleged rape victim, in which she said: “I love you.”

#MeToo campaigners fervently hope that the twice-married father of five – whom nearly 100 women have publicly accused of sexual misconduct – will be put on trial, convicted and sent to prison.

Brafman, who helped former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn escape criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011, wants the entire indictment against Weinstein to be dismissed.

In August, he claimed that the district attorney failed to present the emails, tainting the grand jury’s indictment process.

Messages sent from weeks to four years after the alleged 2013 rape showed that Weinstein and the woman were in a “long-term, consensual, intimate relationship,” Brafman claimed.

Weinstein’s career imploded a year ago in a blaze of accusations of misconduct and abuse from dozens of women that triggered a major reckoning about harassment in the workplace and the #MeToo movement.

© AFP 2018