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District Attorney Defends Decision Not to Prosecute Harvey Weinstein
14 October 2017, 12:01 | Erica Roy
Vance has also came under fire for recently dropping an investigation into President Trump's children Ivanka and Donald Jr. (By many estimations, at the time of the NYPD's Weinstein investigation, the Manhattan DA's office was still smarting from the failure of its case against yet another powerful alleged sexual predator, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.) But Vance's MO in the high-profile Trump and Weinstein cases does, as the aforementioned Trump lawyer noted, have a suspicious air, and the parallels are hard to ignore: two powerful, wealthy white men and their families, two lawyers making campaign contributions to Vance, and alas, two cases dropped.
Friedman-Agnifilo criticized a sting operation organized by the NYPD and Gutierrez, claiming that prosecutors weren't consulted before Gutierrez, wearing a wire, met up with Weinstein to try to extract a confession. In 2015, Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accused Weinstein of sexual assault, but the DA's office ultimately decided not to prosecute the case.
Sources at the time told DNAinfo New York that there were questions about her credibility after she denied being involved in legal cases in Italy that were in the public record.
As DA, Vance has the authority to pass on prosecuting any case he wants-from the Trump kids to Weinstein-if he believes there isn't enough evidence to warrant criminal charges. Her office did not dispute that she made the statement. On the tape, when she asks why he touched her breast, Weinstein responds, "I'm used to that" and "I won't do it again".
After the complaint was made in 2015, the NYPD - without our knowledge or input - arranged a controlled call and meeting between the complainant and Mr. Weinstein.
"I think the district attorney's decision is emblematic of something that's happening in office routinely, but doesn't usually make the headlines", added Jane Manning, an attorney and the Director of Advocacy for NOW NYC. Many are outraged that Vance never charged disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
"While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under NY law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent", Friedman said in a statement released on Tuesday afternoon.
Theo Chino, an activist and member of the New York State Democratic Committee, said that he has been pushing for Vance to resign for the past two years.
Vance has been Manhattan's top prosecutor since 2010 and has been involved in numerous city's major cases - from the successful prosecution of an art dealer's $120 million fraud to rounding up more than 100 police officers and firefighters for a massive disability scam.
Vance has repeatedly disagreed with that assessment, claiming his top sex crime prosecutor determined they couldn't prove the case with the evidence they had.
Vance denied that the monetary contributions informed the office's choice not to pursue the film producer. In all, Boies has given $55,000 to Vance's campaigns since he first began running for office in 2008.
He has been an advocate for sentencing reform and was one of the loudest voices opposing strong encryption for personal phones.
"I support Cy Vance, I will endorse Cy Vance for re-election, and I don't understand the controversy", James said, according to a tweet by a reporter. One has to wonder whether New Yorkers who don't possess similar privileges would have seen the same result. He recalled Vance's push for federal legislation mandating that Apple reverse its encryption for users among his issues with the Manhattan district attorney.
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