The New York City Police Department says it is investigating allegations that a detective improperly coached a witness during the Harvey Weinstein investigation. Lucia Evans claims Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004, but new information revealed on Thursday casts doubt on Evans' story.
In response,. Evans was among the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual assault in the New Yorker last fall. In May, she became one of eventually three women to form the foundation of the criminal case against him. But in a stunning reversal now five months later, Evans' attorney says the district attorney has abandoned her client.
Attorney Carrie Goldberg says she has no doubt that when Evans was an aspiring actress in 2004, Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him at his Manhattan office.
"Why now? I'm baffled," Goldberg told "CBS This Morning: Saturday" co-host Michelle Miller. "She's been steadfast for the last 15 years that she was forcibly sexual assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. There's no writing in existence that refutes that."
But in a letter to the defense unsealed on Thursday, Manhattan prosecutors disclosed that a friend of Evans told an NYPD detective in February that Evans agreed to perform oral sex on Weinstein in exchange for the promise of an "acting job." The detective acknowledges he "failed to inform" the district attorney's office of "important details" of the interview. But Goldberg says Evans' friend changed her story.
"It was my client that introduced this third party as a witness…but you have to understand that my client's version of events was corroborated by this woman and then it wasn't until she was questioned with her father lawyer on the phone that suddenly there was an about-face… We have to look at her motives here… this was 15 years ago for this woman also," Goldberg said.
After a judge dismissed the charge Thursday, Weinstein emerged from the Manhattan courthouse with his attorney Ben Brafman.
"Sexual assault is a serious crime. But falsely accusing someone of sexual assault is also a very serious crime," Brafman said.
Goldberg pins the blame on the district attorney.
"I really believe that the DA made the mistakes in their failure to investigate evidence and witnesses properly…I mean this has nothing to do with Lucia's claims," Goldberg said.
The Manhattan assistant DA says she remains confident in the overall case against Weinstein. The New Yorker stands by its reporting. Weinstein had previously pleaded not guilty to the six sex crimes he's been charged with and has denied all allegations of sexual abuse. He still faces five remaining counts, all of which his attorney is also seeking to have dismissed.