Police Building Case to Arrest Harvey Weinstein After Sexual Assault Claim

51

Chief Boyce said that Ms. de la Huerta “put forth a credible and detailed narrative” to his detectives and that those detectives found “corroboration along the way.” He said Ms. de la Huerta was able “to articulate each and every movement of the crime: where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did.”

Despite the strong words from Mr. Boyce, officials in the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., issued a statement suggesting they were not ready to charge Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Vance’s office would be responsible for prosecuting Mr. Weinstein if he were arrested.

Ms. de la Huerta’s claims resemble those by other women who have come forward. But even as the number of alleged Weinstein victims has increased, with a growing number of women across the world claiming that he harassed, assaulted or raped them, it is unclear whether Mr. Weinstein will face criminal charges. Law enforcement officials in Los Angeles and Britain have also confirmed that they are investigating accounts of sexual assault and abuse by Mr. Weinstein, but the announcement by the New York police is the first indication of a possible arrest.

Through a representative, Mr. Weinstein has steadily denied allegations of nonconsensual sex.

But in interviews with The Times and a statement through her lawyer, Ms. de la Huerta described a series of harrowing encounters in 2010. First, she said, Mr. Weinstein raped her in her TriBeCa apartment. “I know you’re ready to become a real actress,” she said the producer told her as he forced himself on her.

Ms. de la Huerta, who appeared in the HBO drama “Boardwalk Empire,” said that in the weeks afterward, Mr. Weinstein harassed her, calling her frequently, idling his car outside her apartment building and exposing himself to her at a Los Angeles hotel. “He would call me all the time,” she said, adding that his assistant repeatedly sought her out, saying, “Harvey wants to see you.”

Photo

Paz de la Huerta in 2015.

Credit
Andy Kropa/Invision, via Associated Press

“I was terrified,” she said, explaining why she did not go to the police and instead confided mainly in her therapist. “You keep quiet about it,” she added, describing why she stayed silent.

In December 2010, Mr. Weinstein called Ms. de la Huerta and told her he was waiting in her apartment building lobby and would not leave until she met him, she said. “I had said no to meeting him, no to functions,” she said. “He persisted until he was literally sitting in my lobby until I came home.”

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

She had been drinking that night because she was nervous, she said.

When she arrived in the lobby, Mr. Weinstein manipulated her into letting him into her apartment, saying they would have a calm discussion upstairs, she recalled. Once they got upstairs, he pushed her on the bed, overpowered her and raped her a second time, she said.

Newsletter Sign Up

Continue reading the main story

Afterward, Ms. de la Huerta said, she had an emotional breakdown and struggled to work. Her therapist, Sue Ann Piliero, did not return phone calls seeking comment but provided a short statement to the lawyer, Aaron Filler, who provided it to The Times. The statement partially backed Ms. de la Huerta’s recollections.

“I recall you telling me that Harvey Weinstein was seeking sexual contact with you on more than one occasion with the promise of additional roles,” she wrote. “I recall you reporting to me a sexual encounter with Harvey Weinstein involving intercourse in your apartment in 2010 that resulted in you feeling victimized. I recall you telling me that it felt coercive to you and that you didn’t want to have sex with him, but felt that you had to as he was a man of power and rank and you couldn’t say no to his sexual advances.”

Mr. Boyce faced questions about the case on Friday because a report in Vanity Fair quoted a New York police detective, Nicholas DiGaudio, saying the police were ready to move forward.

In New York, the statute of limitations for prosecuting rape and other sex crimes depends on the force alleged and the charges considered, but it can range from two years to no time restrictions for the most serious offenses.

Two officials in the district attorney’s office, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a continuing investigation, said one of the office’s most experienced sex crime prosecutors, Maxine Rosenthal, conducted the initial interview with Ms. de la Huerta.

But the officials cautioned that the investigation was still in the early stages and that detectives and prosecutors were still gathering evidence.

“We are taking it seriously and we are investigating it,” an official with the district attorney’s office said. “We are hoping to build a case. If we can build one, we will build one.”

In general, the Manhattan district attorney’s office will not go forward with a sex crimes prosecution unless prosecutors in its sex crimes unit are absolutely convinced they have enough evidence. This high bar for sex crimes exists largely to avoid subjecting a victim to a humiliating cross-examination that would doom the case and deter other victims from coming forward, prosecutors say.

That is one reason Mr. Vance has said he decided not to prosecute Mr. Weinstein in 2015, when Ambra Battilana, an Italian model, accused him of groping her during a job interview at his office.


Continue reading the main story