This afternoon, the Manhattan district attorney's office issued a warning to Harvey Weinstein's defense team, alerting them to another potentially serious problem related to the investigation that led to the criminal charges against the disgraced movie mogul.
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The Assistant District Attorney who handled the case told Weinstein's team that one of the alleged victims was informed by New York Police Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, the chief detective in the case, to remove from their phones any information I did not want prosecutors to see when he turned on the devices. to them
According to the letter, the detective said that "we will not tell Joan", referring to the Assistant District Attorney of Manhattan, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon.
The district attorney's office insists that the case is still moving forward and did not comment beyond the letter.
Weinstein's chief defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said today's admission is more evidence than he described as a "deeply flawed" case against his client.
"This new development further undermines the integrity of an already deeply flawed allegation of Mr. Weinstein," Brafman said in a statement sent to ABC News.
Weinstein pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of rape and sexual assault that have been made against him in court and in the media.
This new development further undermines the integrity of an already deeply flawed accusation by Mr. Weinstein.
Less than a week ago, the judge in the case dismissed one of six charges against Weinstein, at the request of the district attorney, after prosecutors discovered a written account of the alleged victim Lucia Evans, which suggested that his sexual encounter with Weinstein was consensual. Evans has accused Weinstein of having forced her to have oral sex with him in 2004.
Today's letter refers to one of the two remaining accusers in the case, given that Evans' indictment against Weinstein was dropped last week with the dismissal of the sixth charge.
Nothing in the disclosure related to count six affects the soundness of the remaining case and the remaining counts in the indictment, all five, including predatory sexual assault.
Both the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, Cyrus Vance, and the New York Police Department (NYPD) are reviewing the detective's work on the case.
In court last Thursday, Illuzzi-Orbon told the judge that the case against Weinstein is still moving forward.
The Weinstein prosecution in Manhattan represents the only criminal case that has been filed against him to date. The investigation elsewhere, including in Los Angeles and London, has not resulted in criminal charges.
Last week, after Illuzzi-Orbon informed the court that it would withdraw account six of the indictment against Weinstein, Evans' attorney criticized the measure and said in a statement that the district attorney's office made the decision to "abandon "to your client.
"Let me be clear: the decision to get rid of my client's sexual assault charges does not say anything about Weinstein's guilt or innocence," said attorney Carrie Goldberg.
"Nor is it reflected in Lucia's consistent claim that she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein," he continued. "He just says a lot about the Manhattan attorney's office and his mishandling of my client's case."
Prosecutors said in a September 12 letter to the defense revealed last week that they discovered an account after Weinstein's arrest that could suggest that the meeting was consensual.
According to the witness … the complainant [Evans] he told the witness that … the plaintiff had gone to the defendant's office, where the defendant told him, in substance, that he would arrange for the plaintiff to receive an acting job if she agreed to give him oral sex ", says the letter. "According to the Witness, the appellant told him that he then had oral sex with the defendant."
The letter goes on to say that during this discussion, Evans "seemed to be upset, embarrassed and shaking."
Weinstein's defense attorney, Benjamin Brafman, accused Evans of committing perjury when she testified before the grand jury.
"Sexual assault is a felony, but falsely accusing someone of sexual assault is also a felony," Brafman said outside the court last week.
Brafman said prosecutors discovered Evans' written account of his meeting with Weinstein in a fact checker with The New Yorker, and said he was going to quote the magazine.
"When you do your homework after the arrest, bad things happen," Brafman said.
In a statement, a spokesman for The New Yorker said the magazine supports its information and fact-checking process, adding that "[a]"The assertion of Harvey Weinstein's lawyers that The New Yorker had information that contradicted Lucia Evans' account is clearly incorrect."
Weinstein's defense team called the case "permanently and irreparably damaged" and Brafman said he would use the development to seek dismissal of the entire case.
Illuzzi-Orbon, however, said last week that the rest of the case is "full of steam ahead."
"Nothing in the disclosure related to count six affects the soundness of the remaining case and the remaining counts in the indictment, all five, including predatory sexual assault," he said.
Evans is one of three women whose accusations constitute the backbone of the criminal case.
Defense lawyers also said they would cite police interview records after stating that a NYPD detective "may have unfairly stained these procedures" when he prepared Evans for his testimony.
The detective has been removed from the case, said Brafman.
New York police officials have said they support the criminal case against Weinstein, but to date they have not directly addressed the alleged conduct of the investigator, Detective DiGaudio.
But the president of the New York police detectives union vigorously defended the diGuardio.
"The Manhattan district attorney's office needs to enter the 21st century," said Michael Palladino, president of the Detective Allocations Association, in a statement. "This is the age of technology, people keep a lot of personal information on their phones that they prefer to remain confidential."
"A woman should not have to deliver confidential confidential information that is irrelevant to the case to defend against a sexual predator," Palladino continued in the statement. "That is being victimized twice." Detective DiGaudio was sensitive to that.
Weinstein must return to court on December 20.