NEW YORK – The sexual assault case against Harvey Weinstein was ruined on Wednesday for the second time in a week by what New York City prosecutors said was the inappropriate behavior of a police detective.
Det. Nicholas DiGaudio, whose alleged witness coach caused the dismissal of part of the case last week, is now accused of urging one of Weinstein's accusers to remove material from their cell phones before handing them over to prosecutors.
The Manhattan district attorney's office detailed the alleged misconduct in a letter to Weinstein's lawyer that was made public on Wednesday. The new allegations involve the detective's interactions with an unidentified woman who says Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, pounced on the revelation and said that "it still further undermines the integrity of this already deeply flawed accusation by Mr. Weinstein."
In his letter, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said that during the investigation, prosecutors asked the woman to hand over any mobile phone she might have used during the time she interacted with Weinstein.
The woman was willing to do so, Illuzzi-Orbon wrote, but worried that the phones would contain "in addition to communications with the accused, personal data that she considered private."
She asked DiGaudio what to do. He advised him to eliminate anything he did not want anyone else to see before handing over the phone, prosecutors said.
"We just will not tell Joan," DiGaudio said.
Illuzzi-Orbon said the woman did not delete any information and instead asked a lawyer for advice. The phones were delivered "without any deletion," Illuzzi-Orbon wrote.
The lawyer hired by the woman contacted the district attorney's office about the detective's behavior on October 10.
Weinstein was initially accused in New York of attacking three women. The part of the case that involved one of the alleged victims, Lucia Evans, was dismissed last week after prosecutors said DiGaudio had advised a witness to shut up doubts about whether Evans' alleged sexual encounter with Weinstein was consensual
The DiGaudio union defended his conduct.
"A woman should not have to deliver confidential confidential information that is irrelevant to the case to defend against a sexual predator, that is to be victimized twice, Detective DeGaudio was sensitive to that," said the president of the Association of Detectives' Endowments. , Michael Palladino, in a statement. "This seems to be just another smear campaign against Detective DeGaudio to cover up Manhattan's own incompetence."
Three of the five remaining criminal charges against Weinstein stem from the alleged violation. Two other charges allege that he carried out a forced sexual act with another woman in 2006.
Weinstein denies all accusations of non-consensual sex.
Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD Phil Walzak said: "The evidence against Mr. Weinstein is convincing and strong." The NYPD will continue its work with the prosecution to do justice to the brave survivors who they have presented themselves bravely. "
DiGaudio was one of two investigators who escorted Weinstein out of the police station to the court after his arrest in May. Prior to that, he and other police officers put pressure on prosecutors to press charges, publicly saying that they believed they had gathered ample evidence to make an arrest.
Brafman is seeking a dismissal of all charges against Weinstein.
He has argued that the 2013 rape accusation contradicts the warm emails that the accuser sent to Weinstein after the date of the alleged attack. The lawyer says they show an intimate and consensual relationship.
Follow Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak and Hays at https://twitter.com/APtomhays
Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, disseminated, rewritten or redistributed.