NEW YORK – The Manhattan district attorney decided on Thursday to drop one of the six charges of sexual assault and abuse against Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein.
The decision was approved by the judge overseeing the case at a hearing held in a Manhattan court, where Weinstein has been facing accusations of sexual assault by three women.
According to what the movie producer’s attorney told reporters, the dismissed charge corresponds to the accusation of Lucia Evans, who claimed Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004.
Evans’ testimony was taken by The New Yorker magazine and used in an article published a year ago about Weinstein, one of Hollywood’s most powerful film producers, and it contributed to his precipitous fall from grace.
Months later, Weinstein turned himself in to New York authorities, who charged him with rape and sexual assault.
After pleading innocent, Weinstein remained free on $1 million bail awaiting trial.
Weinstein’s defense worked for weeks to get the accusations of one of the three women on whom the case against him is based dropped, alleging that exculpatory evidence had been ignored, including e-mails that allegedly proved that their relationship had been consensual.
In addition, Weinstein’s defense team insisted that Evans lied to the grand jury that investigated the case and denounced the alleged attempt by a police detective to influence the case.
Weinstein attorney Benjamin Brafman said that the dismissal of one charge against his client was a very positive result, coming as it did after weeks of closed-door discussions and amid multiple documents sealed by the court.
The judicial ruling comes a year after The New York Times revealed a lengthy history of alleged sexual abuse by Weinstein dating back decades, a situation that sparked the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has been accused by more than 70 women, most of them young actresses and others working in the movie business, of sexual misconduct, including rape.
He is still facing charges that he performed a forcible sex act on a woman in 2006 and raped an unidentified woman in his hotel room in 2013.
Meanwhile, Evans’ attorney Carrie Goldberg said that “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,” adding that it “speaks volumes about the Manhattan DA’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”