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Two years before the New York Times exposé revealed decades of harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez claimed the Hollywood mogul groped her breast. The 2015 criminal charge, however, was investigated and then dropped.
Now, included in a new explosive report from The New Yorker where Weinstein is accused of raping three women, among other sexual harassment allegations, audio from the incident in question has been released for the first time.
In a published recording obtained from a NYPD sting operation, Weinstein can be heard admitting to groping Gutierrez. In the taped conversation, Weinstein asks her to join him and warns, “Don’t ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.”
The bombshell New Yorker report, written by Ronan Farrow, details how Gutierrez, once a Miss Italy finalist, met Weinstein in March of 2015 at a reception for his Radio City Music Hall show, New York Spring Spectacular, when she was 22. He remarked repeatedly that she looked like actress Mila Kunis and quickly set up a business meeting.
Gutierrez claims that during the meeting in his New York City office, Weinstein asked if her breasts were real and then “lunged at her, groping her breasts and attempting to put a hand up her skirt,” despite her protests. When she rebuffed him, he offered her tickets to Finding Neverland.
She immediately reported the assault to the NYPD and, with the Special Victims Division, agreed to meet with Weinstein a second time and record their interaction with the help of undercover officers.
The next day, she met Weinstein at the Tribeca Grand Hotel and the recording below details their encounter.
On the tape, Weinstein is heard asking Gutierrez to join her in his hotel room. She says “no” repeatedly but Weinstein persists, and when standing in the hallway outside his room, she confronts him about the groping incident the day prior and says she wants to leave. The back-and-forth followed:
“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”
“You’re used to that?” Gutierrez asks.
“Yes,” Weinstein says. He later adds, “I won’t do it again.”
After almost two minutes of back-and-forth, Weinstein agrees to let her leave.
Gutierrez’s allegation was widely reported, bringing about tabloid stories of her past. Farrow spoke to two sources who are described as being close to the police investigation, and one told the NBC anchor and reporter that questions of her credibility complicated the case.
After two weeks of investigation, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office decided not to file charges. At the time, their statement read: “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.”
After the charges were dropped, Weinstein donated $10,000 to Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s political campaign.
After Tuesday’s story published, the DA’s office released a lengthy statement saying if they could have prosecuted Weinstein, they would have. The office said his reported “pattern of mistreating” women “shocks the conscience,” and encouraged anyone who feels they have been victimized to contact their office’s Sex Crimes Hotline at 212-335-9373.
“After the complaint was made in 2015, the NYPD — without our knowledge or input — arranged a controlled call and meeting between the complainant and Mr. Weinstein,” Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman Agnifilo said in part. “The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to capture in order to prove a misdemeanor sex crime.”
The audio, though “horrifying to listen to,” was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent, the statement continues. “This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges.”
The New Yorker report says Gutierrez later signed a nondisclosure agreement with Weinstein in return for a payment and declined to comment on the incident for their story. Weinstein’s use of NDAs was reported by the Times, something Farrow says has also been confirmed to him by multiple sources.
Farrow’s report was the result of a 10-month investigation. He spoke with three women, two who went on the record, who claim the movie mogul forcibly performed or received oral sex and forced vaginal sex; and 16 current and former employees of The Weinstein Co. who witnessed or had direct knowledge of Weinstein’s sexual harassment. Actress Mira Sorvino, who starred in several of Weinstein’s films, joined the growing chorus of Hollywood stars to speak out about Weinstein, recalling how he chased her around a room in 1995 and, on one occasion, showed up after midnight at her apartment: “I opened the door terrified.”
On Monday, actresses Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lawrence and Judi Dench, all of whom have starred in Weinstein movies, publicly denounced his alleged behavior, along with actors George Clooney and Ben Affleck.
Weinstein denied allegations of nonconsensual sex in a statement via his spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister. The New Yorker printed his response to their story in full: “Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances. Mr. Weinstein obviously can’t speak to anonymous allegations, but with respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.”
The statement continued, “Mr. Weinstein has begun counseling, has listened to the community and is pursuing a better path. Mr. Weinstein is hoping that, if he makes enough progress, he will be given a second chance.”
The New Yorker story comes after Thursday’s Times exposé by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. On Sunday, Weinstein was terminated from The Weinstein Co., which he co-created, and attorney Charles Harder said he was preparing a lawsuit against the Times over “false and defamatory statements.” The paper defends its reporting.
A rep for Weinstein did not immediately reply to a separate request for comment from THR.
Listen to Harvey Weinstein admit to groping a woman, in a recording secretly captured during an N.Y.P.D. sting operation. Read the full story: http://nyer.cm/X9Trt6J
Posted by The New Yorker on Tuesday, October 10, 2017
Oct. 10, 11:40 a.m.: Updated with statement from Manhattan chief assistant DA
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