New York prosecutors have dropped one sex crimes charge against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, according to reports.
Earlier Thursday, Weinstein appeared before a New York judge as his lawyers moved to have charges dismissed in his criminal case.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court for a hearing in New York City.
— Elliot Wagland (@elliotwagland) October 11, 2018
Judge James Burke issued the rulings on the defense motions to dismiss part of a six-count indictment accusing Weinstein of rape and sexual assault.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Ben Brafman, has said in court filings that prosecutors withheld evidence that would have made the grand jury think twice about charging him, such as friendly emails one accuser sent after the alleged rape.
VIDEO: "He is obviously relieved and to some degree pleased" says Harvey Weinstein's lawyer Benjamin Brafman after a judge in New York dismisses one charge against Weinstein pic.twitter.com/2jUaNX0ddf
— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 11, 2018
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and is free on $1 million bail.
Harvey Weinstein has left Court after one of his counts was dropped pic.twitter.com/FxEgxe1kXz
— Christopher Donato (@chrisdonato04) October 11, 2018
The hearing comes a year and a day after The New Yorker first published allegations by one accuser in the case, Lucia Evans.
In the story, Evans accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex when they met alone in his office in 2004 to discuss her fledgling acting career. At the time, Evans was a 21-year-old college student.
Weinstein’s lawyers and prosecutors had been wrangling over the part of the indictment pertaining to Evans’ allegations over the last few weeks in closed-door meetings and sealed court papers. In one publicly filed document, prosecutors said they were investigating evidence that hasn’t been made public.
Weinstein’s legal team argued in court papers that prosecutors hadn’t properly identified the day on which Evans alleged she had been assaulted. She told interviewers only that it had happened over the summer months between semesters at school.
Evans’ lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, insisted the case was strong.
“We know of no evidence refuting our client’s report that Harvey Weinstein forcefully sexually assaulted her,” she said in a statement.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined comment.
While more than 75 women have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct over the past year, the criminal case in New York City involves the allegations of just three women: Evans, an unidentified woman who says he raped her in a hotel room in 2013, and an actress who said Weinstein performed a forcible sex act on her in 2006.
The New York City Police Department said in a statement it “remains fully confident in the overall case it has pursued against Mr. Weinstein. The evidence shows that the criminal case against him is strong.”
Brafman has called the charges against Weinstein a product of political pressure amid the #MeToo outcry.
New York appeals courts have said prosecutors aren’t obliged to present grand jurors with all forms of evidence that could favor a defendant, but the courts also have noted that prosecutors are obliged to seek justice and not just convictions.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.