The increasingly chaotic case against disgraced mega-producer Harvey Weinstein has added a new level of intrigue: The Manhattan District Attorney’s office told prosecutors that the lead detective on the case instructed one of the alleged victims to delete messages from her phone before turning it over and promised to hide that fact from the DA.
Less than a week after the DA dropped part of the case against Weinstein after evidence emerged that a police detective had “coached a witness to stay silent about evidence that cast doubt on the account one of his three accusers,” NBC New York reports, the DA’s office sent a letter to Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, raising more concerns about the detective’s handling of the case.
The DA’s office informed Brafman in a letter Tuesday that the accuser told the DA’s office that when she had expressed concern about turning over her phones because they contained personal information, Detective Nicholas DiGaudio instructed the complainant to “delete anything she did not want anyone to see” before turning over the phones. DiGaudio, she claims, also told her he would hide the fact that she deleted information from the DA’s office.
Brafman responded by slamming the “deeply flawed indictment” of his client, while a detectives association defended DiGaudio.
“The Manhattan DA’s office needs to enter the 21st century,” said Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, in a statement, NBC reports. “This is the age of technology. People keep loads of personal info on their phones that they prefer remains confidential. A woman should not have to surrender confidential intimate information that’s immaterial to the case to defend herself against a sexual predator. That’s being victimized twice. Detective DiGaudio was sensitive to that.”
The DA’s criticism of DiGaudio, said Palladino, is “just another smear campaign” against the detective.
Thursday, the DA dropped charges involving allegations by Lucia Evans amid evidence that DiGaudio encouraged a witness to hide evidence that contradicted Evans’ police report against Weinstein, as well as the emergence of an email from three years ago by Evans offering a different account of the incident. The producer still faces rape charges dating back to an alleged incident in 2013.