Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office agreed to the dismissal of one charge in the criminal case against Harvey Weinstein on Thursday. This comes after the discovery of what appeared to be exculpatory evidence. The case against the disgraced movie producer is based on allegations from three different women, but an account from one of them appeared to give the impression that her experience with Weinstein may have been consensual.
Previous reports said that one of Lucia Evans‘ former employers handed over a written account from an office computer that may tell a different story from what Evans told the grand jury. Evans has accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
Prosecutors were reportedly torn over what to do next, in light of the new evidence.
“The writings indicate it was consensual, friendly,” a source told the Post. “It has caused a split [in the DA’sOffice], some believe the charges should be dropped and that there’s a problem [with this complainant].”
The Manhattan DA’s Office ultimately said they would not oppose dismissing the count based on Evans’ allegations, but would move forward with the rest of the case.
Evans’ attorney was not pleased with Thursday’s developments.
“Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence,” attorney Carrie Goldberg said in a statement to the New York Post. “Nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein.”
Goldberg said the decision “only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.” The statement continued:
They used her. They had all the evidence they have now and they still put her through the torture of walking through the scene of the crime, handing over her therapy and medical records, undergoing their cross-examination for hours upon hours. Month after month. Lucia’s case deserves to be heard.
Instead of rising to the challenges of their mistakes, the DA jumped ship at the first opportunity. Vance has done this before, when powerful men have been accused of sex crimes, including Weinstein himself; throwing cooperative crime victims under the bus. It raises serious questions of bias.
People ask why survivors of sexual assault don’t come forward in the criminal system – this is why.
In addition to the three allegations in this case, Weinstein has faced accusations of sexual harassment and assault from dozens of actresses, including Rose McGowan, Salma Hayek, Annabella Sciorra, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
[Image via YANN COATSALIOU/AFP/Getty Images]