Harvey Weinstein has officially parted ways with defense attorney Ben Brafman, releasing a joint statement Thursday announcing the move.
Weinstein had clashed with his defense attorney over strategy in his rape and sexual assault case. The pair issued a statement saying their parting was amicable, and that Brafman would cooperate fully with Weinstein’s new attorneys.
“Mr. Weinstein praised Mr. Brafman for his legal work to date and Mr. Brafman reiterated his belief that Mr. Weinstein would be exonerated of the charges that have been filed against him and Brafman personally wished Mr. Weinstein the best of luck as he defends the case and the accusations that Mr. Weinstein has vehemently denied,” the pair said in the statement.
Justice James Burke denied Brafman’s motion on Dec. 20 to dismiss the case. Bringing in a new defense attorney is likely to postpone the trial, which is currently set for May 6.
Weinstein is expected to announce the hiring of new attorneys next week. If convicted, he faces the possibility of life in prison.
Brafman aggressively contested the charges, filing lengthy motions to dismiss the indictment on the grounds of prosecutorial and police misconduct.
Prosecutors did agree to the dismissal of one of the six charges after obtaining evidence that the alleged victim, Lucia Evans, had given conflicting versions of her account. The D.A.’s office disclosed that the NYPD detectives had failed to notify prosecutors of potentially exculpatory evidence.
Brafman argued that the disclosure tainted the entire case. He released emails and texts from the two remaining accusers, suggesting that they maintained affectionate relations with Weinstein following the alleged sexual assaults.
Burke, however, denied Brafman’s latest motion to dismiss the charges. Weinstein reportedly wanted to appeal that ruling, though Brafman counseled against it, according to a report in Law & Crime.
Brafman’s exit was first reported on Monday. He told Variety at the time that he would not comment on the reasons for the split.
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