Hours after producer Harvey Weinstein allegedly groped 22-year-old Ambra Battilana during an encounter in his New York office last week, he reportedly admitted over the telephone his actions were a one-time mistake.
The legendary producer was the subject of an NYPD telephone sting operation, and did not deny the accusation; the New York Daily News reported this week.
The aspiring Italian model and actress claims the 63-year-old married father of five asked for a kiss, before touching her breasts and crotch during a “business meeting” at his Tribeca office around 6p.m. Friday Mar. 27. Weinstein spoke to police the following day, and denied the claim, before lawyering up.
The Daily News reported Thursday a conversation recorded by the NYPD, between the Weinstein Co. exec and the beauty, demonstrated he did not deny the “casting-couch come-on.”
Now, a source tells the paper during the monitored phone call Battilana said something to indicate “she was uncomfortable with him doing that.”
The source then said as police listened in Weinstein reacted with “something to the effect, ‘It won’t happen again.’”
Battilana also arranged an in-person meeting with Weinstein at the Tribeca Grand Hotel restaurant some time between the incident and Weinstein’s Saturday conversation with the police. Officers watched the meeting from afar, according to the publication. The paper’s source also indicated it was clear from the conversation that Weinstein had made physical contact with his accuser.
“If he denies it, if he says he didn’t touch her breasts and privates, he’s toast,” the person asserted.
“He didn’t deny doing what she said he did to her,” an anonymous source told the Daily News of the alleged phone call. “The content of the phone call, there’s no question about what he did.”
It is not immediately clear if Weinstein knew he was being monitored for the phone conversation, or his in-person meeting with the woman at the restaurant.
Representatives for the studio head have continually dismissed Battilana as an opportunist, and attacked her credibility. A person affiliated with The Weinstein Company said earlier this week the allegations were a “blackmail attempt,” and insisted that the producer “did nothing wrong.”
Another person close to the producer told the Daily News Thursday: “I couldn’t be more confident that nothing untoward happened with Harvey and that this is a setup like we’ve never seen… I think it’s pretty clear that it’s part of a pattern.”
The pair had met a day prior to the alleged assault, when Weinstein invited the model to his office for the business meeting on Friday. A security camera captured both Battilana’s entrance into the building at 6 p.m. Friday, and her and quick exit 31 minutes later, a source said this week.
She placed a telephone call to a friend as she left the Tribeca building, and was “very upset.” She later went to police.
Former sex crimes prosecutor Matthew Galluzzo told the Daily News Weinstein could face misdemeanor charges of forcible touching or sexual abuse if the investigation finds the claims credible.
“I think they’re probably going to give Harvey Weinstein and his lawyer an opportunity to respond,” said Galluzzo of a probable thorough investigation. “I would say there’s no urgency in terms of flight risk. They will probably invite him in, if he wants to come.”
Harvey has promised full cooperation with the investigation.