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Harvey Weinstein, through his lawyer, is responding to Monday’s New York Times report that one of his accusers, Asia Argento, allegedly paid off her own sexual assault accuser after coming forward with her rape claim against the disgraced Hollywood mogul.
“This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein,” Weinstein lawyer Ben Brafman said Monday afternoon in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “What is perhaps most egregious, is the timing, which suggests that at the very same time Argento was working on her own secret settlement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she was positioning herself at the forefront of those condemning Mr. Weinstein, despite the fact that her sexual relationship with Mr. Weinstein was between two consenting adults which lasted for more than four years.”
The statement continued: “The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty.”
The Italian actress was one of the first to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual assault and was one of the leading voices to spark the #MeToo and subsequent Time’s Up movements. According to legal documents obtained by the Times and published earlier on Monday, the accusations against Argento were sent not long after she went public with her own claims against Weinstein. Argento accused the disgraced Hollywood mogul of raping her when she was 21 as part of the bombshell New Yorker report published on Oct. 10.
According to the report, Argento paid former child actor Jimmy Bennett $380,000 after Bennett claimed that in 2013, a then-37-year-old Argento assaulted him in a California hotel two months past his 17th birthday. The age of consent in California is 18.
Argento has not yet responded to the Times report.
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