Posted: October 11, 2017
By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence in 2015 to charge Harvey Weinstein with sexual assault, despite an audio recording secretly taken at the behest of the New York Police Department by a woman who claimed the Hollywood film producer groped her.
In the recording, published Tuesday by The New Yorker, Weinstein can be heard apologizing to Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez after she confronts him about the alleged assault.
"Why yesterday (did) you touch my breast?" Gutierrez asks in the recording.
"Oh please, I'm sorry,” he answers. “I'm used to that.”
The audio recording was made after Gutierrez went to the New York Police Department with a complaint about Weinstein. She told police that she was going over her modeling portfolio with Weinstein at his Tribeca office when he started to make crude comments about her breasts, The New Yorker reported.
She told police that “Weinstein then lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt while she protested,” according to The New Yorker.
As she was speaking with NYPD Special Victims Division investigators, Weinstein called her, according to The New Yorker. The next day, they had her put on a wire and meet with Weinstein in hopes of getting a confession, the magazine reported.
Despite the recording, authorities said that they did not have enough evidence to file charges against Weinstein.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman Agnifilo said Tuesday in a statement that prosecutors lacked evidence because of the NYPD’s failure to work with prosecutors.
Statement by Chief ADA Karen Friedman Agnifilo on allegations against Harvey Weinstein — pic.twitter.com/4kLfEk60re— Cyrus Vance, Jr. (@ManhattanDA) October 10, 2017
“The NYPD -- without our knowledge or input -- arranged a controlled call and meeting between the complainant and Mr. Weinstein,” Agnifilo said. “The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime.
“While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.”
Police defended their actions Tuesday in a statement, nothing that “experienced detectives and supervisors from NYPD’s Special Victims Unit” were part of the police investigation.
“The recorded conversation with the subject corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim’s complaint to the police a day earlier,” Deputy Commissioner Stephen P. Davis said. “This follow-up recorded conversation was just one aspect of the case against the subject. This evidence, along with other statements and timeline information was presented to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney.”
A police source, who was not identified, told The New Yorker that the decision not to charge Weinstein came after two weeks amid questions about her past, including reports from tabloids that Gutierrez had once accused an older businessman of sexual assault and then refused to work with prosecutors.
“We had the evidence,” the source told The New Yorker. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.”
Accusations of sexual harassment and assault have piled against Weinstein in recent days, after The New York Times published a report detailing decades of sexual harassment complaints against the Miramax co-founder. He admitted to some wrongdoing in the wake of the Times report but on Tuesday “unequivocally denied” allegations of rape made by three women to The New Yorker.
“Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein,” Weinstein spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister said in a statement released to The New Yorker. “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
Weinstein was ousted from his position with The Weinstein Company on Sunday amid fallout from the sexual harassment allegations. Multiple celebrities have come out in support of his accusers.
If Seth MacFarlane’s joke from 2013 is anything to go by, the allegations of sexual harassment by Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein were an open secret in the film industry.
MacFarlane made the quip while announcing the 2013 Oscar nominations, with Emma Stone co-presenting.
After reading the names of the five female actors in the Supporting Actress category -- Sally Field for “Lincoln,” Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables,” Jacki Weaver for “Silver Linings Playbook,” Helen Hunt for “The Sessions” and Amy Adams for “The Master” -- MacFarlane said, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”
The audience of reporters and industry insiders chuckled at what probably seemed just like a harmless, awkward joke at the time. But in the face of the many recent allegations against Weinstein of sexual harassment, assault and rape, the joke takes on a whole new meaning and raises a bunch of questions. Was Weinstein’s behavior an open secret in Hollywood? A number of published articles seem to indicate it was, or it was at least speculated about.
Wednesday, as more allegations of sexual harassment and assault continue against Weinstein, The Hollywood Reporter said MacFarlane tweeted praise for “Ted” actress and friend Jessica Barth. According to MacFarlane, Barth confided in him about an interaction she said she had with Weinstein.
“In 2011, my friend and colleague Jessica Barth, with whom I worked on the Ted films, confided in me regarding her encounter with Harvey Weinstein and his attempted advances,” he tweeted. “She has since courageously come forward to speak out. It was with this account in mind that, when I hosted the Oscars in 2013, I couldn't resist the opportunity to take a hard swing in his direction. Make no mistake, this came from a place of loathing and anger.”
“There is nothing more abhorrent and indefensible than abuse of power such as this. I respect and applaud my friend Jessica and those sharing their stories for their decision to come forward, and for being champions of the truth,” he said.
Weinstein has since been fired from his film company as sexual harassment allegations continue. More than a dozen allegations have emerged against the producer.
Actress Hilarie Burton, known for her role as Peyton Sawyer in “One Tree Hill,” has spoken out about a past sexual assault claim against actor Ben Affleck Tuesday, accusing him of groping her breast during a visit to MTV’s “TRL” in 2003, People reported.
Amid the sexual harassment and assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Affleck took to Twitter Tuesday and wrote he was “saddened and angry” about the allegations against Weinstein.
“I didn’t forget,” Burton, now 35 years old and 10 years younger than Affleck, wrote in response to the tweet. At the time, Burton was a video jockey on the MTV video request show.
The fan apologized that she had to go through that, to which Burton said, “Seriously, thank you for that. I was a kid.”
Burton also shared video of her reaction following the grope from “TRL: Uncensored,” in which she laughed it off in discomfort.
In the clip, Burton says Affleck walked over to her during an interview and “tweaked” her breast.
“He wraps his arm around me and comes over and tweaks my left boob!" she says in the video.
She says he later asked her, “What are you, 19?” The full clip of Burton discussing the moment is on YouTube.
Affleck apologized Wednesday on Twitter, saying, “I acted inappropriately toward Ms. Burton and I sincerely apologize.”
“Girls. I’m so impressed with you brave ones. I had to laugh back then so I wouldn't cry. Sending love,” Burton wrote on Twitter.
People reported that Burton later left TRL in 2003 after three years on the show to star in “One Tree Hill.” She is currently expecting her second child with “The Walking Dead” actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Actress Lindsay Lohan faced a social media backlash after defending Harvey Weinstein amid the continuing sexual assault allegations against him, but in a surprising show of support, Rose McGowan asked people to ‘go easy’ on Lohan.
McGowan is one of more than a dozen women who have come forward to tell their stories about sexual assault and rape allegations against the the powerful movie mogul.
After sharing her feelings on the ongoing Weinstein controversy, Lohan quickly deleted her remarks just an hour later as the social media storm brewed.
McGowan soon asked Twitter followers to be kind.
“Please go easy on Lindsay Lohan. Being a child actor turned sex symbol twists the brain in ways you can’t comprehend,” McGowan posted.
Lohan originally posted her message early Wednesday morning local time in the United Arab Emirates, where she currently lives.
“Hi, this is Lindsay Lohan, I’m in Dubai. I’m home,” she said in her newly developed accent. “I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now. I don’t think it’s right what’s going on.”
Lohan said she thought Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, should stand by him (Chapman announced she was leaving Weinstein in a statement to People Tuesday night.)
“He’s never harmed me or did anything to me. We’ve done several movies together. I think everyone needs to stop. I think it’s wrong. So, stand up,” she said in the post.
Fans were quick to slam the actress on Twitter after she posted the video.
Weinstein has reportedly entered a treatment facility at an undisclosed location.
Nicole Moschella contributed to this story.
Lindsay Lohan spoke out in defense of Harvey Weinstein amid his sexual misconduct allegations in a now-deleted video on Instagram, and fans took to Twitter to share their outrage.
Lohan shared her support of Weinstein in an Instagram video which she deleted just one hour later. According to People magazine, she posted the video in the early hours of Wednesday morning local time in the United Arab Emirates, where she is currently living.
Fans were quick to record and share the video.
“Hi, this is Lindsay Lohan. I’m in Dubai. I’m home,” she said in her newly developed accent. “I feel very bad for Harvey Weinstein right now. I don’t think it’s right what’s going on.”
Lohan said Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, should stand by him. Chapman announced she was leaving Weinstein in a statement to People magazine earlier Tuesday night.
The actress continued: “He’s never harmed me or did anything to me. We’ve done several movies together. I think everyone needs to stop. I think it’s wrong. So, stand up.”
Fans were quick to slam the actress on Twitter.
Many high-profile actresses, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashley Judd have come forward with allegations about the famed producer.
Weinstein reportedly plans to enter a treatment facility at an undisclosed location.
Designer Donna Karan issued an apology after prompting outrage with comments calling disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein “wonderful” and wondering whether women are “asking for it" because of how they present themselves.
In a statement released to the Hollywood Reporter and other outlets, Karan said: “I made a statement that unfortunately is not representative of how I feel or what I believe,” she said, also saying her comments were “taken out of context.”
“I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended and everyone that has ever been a victim," she said.
It’s probably safe to bet there’s a zero percent chance of spotting Karan’s designs strolling down the next red carpet, judging from the swift reaction her comments provoked:
Weinstein was fired from his own film company days after an explosive New York Times report detailing allegations of sexual assault going back three decades.
Since the article ran, a former New York waitress posted her recollections of Weinstein’s behavior during the time she dealt him on the job, and a reporter revealed a disturbing encounter she was allegedly forced to endure:
The Weinstein report has sparked condemnations from Hollywood – but silence persists in many quarters:
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