Manhattan DA Vance had declined to prosecute Weinstein in 2015

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Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to prosecute Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2015 after a model claimed he lunged at her, groped her breasts and tried put his hand up her skirt during a visit to his office.

The model who made the allegation was former Miss Italy finalist Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, the New Yorker reports. Business Insider, the Washington Post and the Huffington Post note the article.

Gutierrez reported the incident to New York police, who had her wear a wire during a meeting at a bar. Weinstein pressed Gutierrez to join him in his hotel room. She accompanied him but stopped outside the room. There she asked him why he had groped her breasts the day before.

“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” Weinstein said in the recorded conversation. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”

“You’re used to that?” Gutierrez replied.

“Yes,” Weinstein said. Later he says, “I won’t do it again.”

As the police investigation progressed, negative items began appearing about Gutierrez in the tabloids, including an allegation that she had once made a sexual assault allegation against an Italian businessman, but later refused to cooperate.

Vance’s office has released a statement saying the office couldn’t prosecute because the recording was insufficient to prove a misdemeanor sex crime under New York law, which requires proof of intent. Prosecutors in the sex crimes unit weren’t given the opportunity to counsel the police investigators who arranged for the wire on what was type of proof was needed, the statement says.

Gutierrez later signed a nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein in which she says the alleged acts never happened, a source told the New Yorker. Several sources said Weinstein had used such settlements in other cases.

In the months after Vance declined to prosecute, a lawyer who has represented Weinstein, David Boies, made a $10,000 donation to Vance’s campaign, Business Insider reports, citing a story in the International Business Times. Boies’ law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, said he had been a long-time supporter of Vance who donated more than $50,000 to his campaign since 2005. Boies never spoke with Vance about Weinstein and there was no connection between the donation and Vance’s decision not to charge Weinstein, the statement said.

The story follows a report that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, made a $32,000 contribution to Vance’s campaign nearly six months after the prosecutor dropped a probe into sales of units at the Trump SoHo condominium-hotel in 2012. Vance, who was investigating whether Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. were inflating figures, later returned the contribution.

Gutierrez is among several women who have come forward with harassment allegations against Weinstein; three women also alleged in interviews with the New Yorker that Weinstein had raped them.

Weinstein’s spokesperson issued a statement saying allegations of non-consensual sex “are unequivocally denied.”




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