Harvey Weinstein's lawyer plans to ask a New York judge to toss out the sprawling sex assault case against him on the grounds an accuser supposedly sent the disgraced movie mogul "exculpatory" emails, new court filings reveal.
The revelation came Wednesday in Delaware bankruptcy court filings involving Weinstein's former movie company.
Weinstein's lawyers asked the judge presiding over the bankruptcy proceeding to let his criminal defense team file emails revealed in the company's Chapter 11 case as exhibits in defense motions that are due Friday.
At the conclusion of an emergency hearing on the issue Thursday afternoon, the judge decided that Weinstein's criminal lawyers could file the emails in their motions as long as they didn't identify the victim.
During that hearing, Weinstein's lawyer Ben Brafman said, "I think if the grand jury had these emails available, they would not have indicted Mr. Weinstein." Brafman also said "there's nothing in the emails that will identify this woman," which he maintains reveal "consensual" interactions.
"Following the review by his counsel of the e-mails that have been produced to date, Mr. Weinstein now has an immediate need to file certain of the e-mails—less than 40 in number and redacted to remove all identifying information—in conjunction with his defense against a criminal indictment filed and pending in the Supreme Court of New York," Weinstein's bankruptcy lawyers wrote in a filing prior to the proceeding.
They also revealed these emails "are to be attached as exhibits to pre-trial motions” to seek dismissal of the indictment. The lawyers claim the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office did not advise the grand jury of the “substance of exculpatory communications” made by the one of three complaining witnesses for the counts of the indictment against him.
"It is Mr. Weinstein’s belief that these e-mails are material and exculpatory and the failure of the district attorney to provide this evidence to the grand jury warrants a dismissal of the indictment," they wrote.
Weinstein faces charges in Manhattan Supreme Court for allegedly forced encounters with three women. Weinstein, who is out on $1 million bail, has maintained his innocence. If convicted, the 66-year-old could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The Manhattan D.A. declined to comment on news of these emails. Weinstein's lawyer did not respond to a request for comment