Weinstein in court today. (STEVEN HIRSCH/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance dropped one of the charges against Harvey Weinstein on Thursday, striking the count that came from an allegation Lucia Evans made to the New Yorker last year. The larger case against Weinstein—who stands accused of habitually targeting and assaulting women over the course of decades, sexually abusing and in some cases raping his victims—will proceed “full steam ahead,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon reportedly assured the judge in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, attorneys did not clarify what was suspect in Evans’s story, but what she told the New Yorker—that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, after dangling prospective film and television roles in front of the aspiring actress—allegedly included “inconsistencies” one of the magazine’s fact checkers originally flagged. Weinstein’s defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, reportedly contended that “the integrity of these proceedings has been compromised” because, according to Brafman, Evans lied about the incident, both to the press and to a grand jury, and because a detective may have intervened to suppress a witness who could have corrected the record.
In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Evans’s lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, said: “Let me be clear: The decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence. Nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein. It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”
According to Variety, the prosecution did not challenge the defense’s motion to dismiss the Evans-related count, bringing the total number of criminal charges against the disgraced movie mogul down to five. But even without the Evans charge, Illuzzi-Orbon maintains that the prosecution maintains its strong case that Weinstein engaged in a pattern of “predatory sexual assault.”
The Manhattan DA’s office did not immediately respond to our request for comment about the dropped charge.