In 2015, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. office declined to bring charges against producer Harvey Weinstein after model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accused him of sexual assault. Now Time’s Up, the advocacy group and legal defense fund, is calling for an independent investigation.
The group wrote a letter, published in The Cut, urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to launch an independent investigation.
From The Cut:
Reports that District Attorney Cyrus Vance could have been improperly influenced by Mr. Weinstein and/or his representatives, and that senior officials within the DA’s office may have sought to intimidate Battilana are particularly disturbing and merit investigation. Similarly, reports that the New York Police Department chose to isolate Battilana from Vance’s staff because they feared his office was actively working to discredit her story demand immediate scrutiny. [...]
We are concerned that what appears to be the negative relationship between the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD makes it even less likely that victims who have been assaulted by rich or powerful men will be willing to come forward and that their assailants will be prosecuted and convicted.
Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker investigation into Weinstein’s victims included leaked audio of from a wire worn by Gutierrez, in which Weinstein is heard saying he groped her; but the DA’s office declined to file charges. “We had the evidence,” a police source told the New Yorker. “It’s a case that made me angrier than I thought possible, and I have been on the force a long time.” Gutierrez later signed an incredibly restrictive nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein.
Over 40 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment and assault. Earlier this month, the NYPD claimed that they had enough evidence to arrest Weinstein related to multiple assault allegations, but so far no action has been taken.