Harvey Weinstein will not testify before the Manhattan special grand jury that is investigating allegations he sexually assaulted at least two women and may have paid off victims.
A rep for Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman said Wednesday that the former Hollywood bigwig could not have adequately prepared to go before the secret panel in the amount of time allotted.
His attorneys agreed to notify the Manhattan District Attorney’s office by Wednesday as to whether he would take the witness stand in what is often considered a risky legal play — but can sometimes wipe out the chances of an indictment when prosecutors are working with weak evidence.
Weinstein has denied allegations brought by the DA last week and says the dated interactions with the accusers was consensual.
On Tuesday, Brafman told reporters that the rape accuser, who says Weinstein sexually assaulted her at a Doubletree Hotel in 2013, had a 10-year affair with the Miramax founder and that it continued after the alleged incident.
The statement also says Brafman was denied an extension to make the strategic call. The decision comes on the heels of a 90-minute private meeting Tuesday with the parties on the case and Justice James Burk, who is supervising the grand jury proceeding.
“After being unfairly denied access to critical information about this case that was needed to defend him before the grand jury, Mr. Weinstein’s attorneys decided that there was not sufficient time to properly prepare Mr. Weinstein,” said the statement by Brafman rep Juda Engelmayer.
“Not having access to these materials is particularly troubling in this case, where one of the unsupported allegations is more than 14 years old and the rape allegation involves a woman with whom Mr. Weinstein shared a 10-year consensual sexual relationship that continued for years after the alleged incident in 2013,” the statement continued.
The announcement noted that “regardless of how compelling Mr. Weinstein’s personal testimony might be, an indictment was inevitable due to the unfair political pressure being placed on Cy Vance to secure a conviction of Mr. Weinstein.”
An indictment has not yet been filed.
Weinstein was charged last week in a criminal complaint with criminal sex act and two versions of rape.
The first accuser was former acting student Lucia Evans, who said she was forced to perform oral sex on Weinstein in 2004.