NEW YORK — An NYPD detective involved in the case against Harvey Weinstein told a witness to delete materials from her cellphones before handing them over to the Manhattan district attorney, a prosecutor admitted.
Det. Nicholas DiGaudio, the former lead detective in the case, told one of Weinstein’s three criminal accusers to delete “anything she did not want anyone to see” before giving them to the DA’s office to examine, Special Counsel Joan Illuzzi-Orbon wrote in a Tuesday letter to Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman.
But the woman ultimately did not delete anything and said DiGaudio didn’t influence her testimony, Illuzi-Orbon wrote. The NYPD has removed the detective from the investigation, The New York Times reported last week.
The revelation came less than a week after a Manhattan judge tossed one of the six sex-crime charges against the disgraced movie mogul after evidence raised questions about one accuser’s account.
“This new development even further undermines the integrity of an already deeply flawed Indictment of Mr Weinstein,” Brafman said in a statement.
DiGaudio gave the instructions after the DA’s office asked the woman, who has alleged that Weinstein raped her in 2013, to hand over any cellphones she might have used in the time she interacted with him, according to the letter.
While the phones contained communications with Weinstein, the woman told DiGaudio she was concerned about other personal, private data, the letter says. In addition to telling her to delete what she needed to, the detective added, “We just won’t tell Joan,” an apparent reference to Illuzzi-Orbon, the letter says.
Prosecutors are moving ahead with the five remaining charges against Weinstein, which include rape and predatory sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.
The NYPD also stood by the case.
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“The evidence against Mr. Weinstein is compelling and strong,” Det. John Grimpel, a police spokesman, said in a statement. “The NYPD will continue its work with the prosecution to deliver justice for the courageous survivors who have bravely come forward.”
Weinstein’s arrest in May was a landmark moment for the #MeToo movement that burgeoned after The New York Times and The New Yorker published exposes of Weinstein’s pattern of sexual harassment and abuse. He has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
(Lead image: Harvey Weinstein is pictured in Manhattan Criminal Court on Oct. 11, 2018. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)