Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. had evidence of Harvey Weinstein’s sexually predatory behavior toward a woman, but didn’t pursue the case, according to an explosive New Yorker piece published Tuesday.
The story describes how model and former Miss Italy contestant Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accepted a meeting with Weinstein in March 2015. During the meeting, she told the outlet, Weinstein groped her breasts and put his hands up her skirt.
Gutierrez went to the New York Police Department, which counseled her to wear a wire and meet with Weinstein the next day at his hotel.
The New Yorker published the recorded audio of their exchange.
“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” Weinstein tells Gutierrez. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”
“You’re used to that?” she replies.
“Yes,” Weinstein says. He later adds, “I won’t do it again.”
A police investigation ensued, at which point hit pieces about Gutierrez’s past began to appear in the tabloids, she said. After two weeks, Vance didn’t file any charges.
“This case was taken seriously from the outset, with a thorough investigation conducted by our Sex Crimes Unit. After analyzing the available evidence, including multiple interviews with both parties, a criminal charge is not supported,” the DA’s office said in a statement at the time.
Yet a police source close to the investigation told the magazine the NYPD had the evidence. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time,” the source said.
In an emailed statement, NYPD told HuffPost that their investigation was carried out by experienced detectives and supervisors from NYPD’s Special Victims Unit.
“The detectives used well established investigative techniques,” NYPD said. “The recorded conversation with the subject corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim’s complaint to the police a day earlier. This follow-up recorded conversation was just one aspect of the case against the subject. This evidence, along with other statements and timeline information was presented to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney.”
Gutierrez couldn’t comment further since she had signed a nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein, “including an affidavit stating that the acts Weinstein admits to in the recording never happened,” the article says.
Vance’s campaign referred HuffPost to the DA’s office, which did not respond to a request for comment.
Chief Assistant DA Karen Freedman Agnifilo said Tuesday in a statement that “if we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have.” Agnifilo went on to say that what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law because it did not establish criminal intent.
“Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful,” she said.
Vance appeared in another piece published last week by The New Yorker, ProPublica and WNYC. The story alleges Vance dropped a 2012 criminal investigation into Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. after Mark Kasowitz, a lawyer for their father, donated tens of thousands of dollars to Vance’s campaign.
This article has been updated with comment from Agnifilo and the NYPD.
Matt Ferner contributed to reporting.