Harvey Weinstein’s Attorney Claims Movie Producer Had ’10-Year Consensual Relationship’ With Rape Accuser: Gothamist

Harvey Weinstein and his defense attorney Benjamin Brafman (in orange tie) on May 25, 2018 (JB Nicholas / Gothamist)

The defense attorney for Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced Hollywood mogul now accused of assaulting or harassing dozens of women, was in court this morning to argue that his client shouldn’t face rape charges because Weinstein “had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship” with an accuser.

Weinstein was charged with rape and criminal sexual act on May 25th, seven months after investigations from the NY Times and The New Yorker revealed a long history of Weinstein allegedly coercing and sexually assaulting women, from unknowns to celebrities like Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Lupita N’yongo, and Annabella Sciorra, and holding their careers hostage.

The Manhattan DA’s office said that the criminal sex act charges were related to a 2004 incident, when Weinstein allegedly forced aspiring actress Lucia Evans to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca offices (Evans had been scheduled to meet with a female casting executive). The rape charge is related to an incident on March 18th, 2013, when Weinstein allegedly kept a woman “physically against her will” at 569 Lexington Avenue and raped her, according to the Manhattan DA’s office.

Defense attorney Benjamin Brafman was reportedly in judge’s chambers with the prosecution for 90 minutes over concerns on whether Weinstein would receive a fair trial. WABC 7 reports, “The judge ordered the transcript sealed and so the substance of the arguments and the response by prosecutors are unknown.”

“One of my concerns is that by virtue of some of the publicity that has occurred over the weekend and the ability for people to keep an open mind is of concern to me,” Brafman told reporters outside court. “I also think that pressure that is being brought to bear on the District Attorney’s Office demanding that an indictment or a prosecution of Mr. Weinstein proceed is inappropriate pressure, it is unprecedented, and it troubles me. And I wanted to make those matters known to the court.”

He also characterized the rape charges as “absurd” because, “This is an extraordinary case in my judgement where the only rape victim that Mr. Weinstein is accused of raping is someone with whom he has had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship — both before and after the alleged incident.”

Last Friday, Brafman said that Weinstein did not invent the casting couch, arguing that “Bad behavior is not on trial in this case.”

Weinstein, who is expected to plead not guilty, posted $1 million cash bail and is wearing an ankle-monitoring bracelet. His travel is restricted to New York and Connecticut.

Manhattan DA Cy Vance was criticized last year when it was revealed that his office had declined to press charges against Weinstein in 2015, after an Italian model accused him of groping her. The NYPD had even conducted a sting where Weinstein admitted to it while trying to convince the model to watch him shower.

Sciorra, who told the New Yorker how Weinstein raped her in her apartment over twenty years ago and still slept with a baseball bat next to her because she feared him so much, was unhappy that Weinstein is out on bail:

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