His sexual assault trial is set to begin in just four months, but Harvey Weinstein is now without his star defense lawyer.
Benjamin Brafman revealed on Tuesday that he has resigned from representing the movie producer in his Manhattan case.
Weinstein, 66, has been charged with forcibly performing oral sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping a longtime lover in Manhattan in 2013.
Harvey Weinstein has just lost his star defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman (pictured in October following a criminal case hearing for the movie mogul)
Brafman revealed on Tuesday he has resigned from representing the movie producer in his Manhattan sexual assault case (pictured together after a December hearing)
Brafman, 70, told the New York Post he’s ‘withdrawing’ from the case.
The announcement came just a day after the Post published an expose claiming that Brafman and Weinstein had a ‘blowout argument’.
Sources claimed that Brafman was angered over the fact that Weinstein wanted to expand his legal team.
‘Weinstein has been meeting with attorneys to build a team with expertise for various aspects of the upcoming trial,’ his spokesman Juda Engelmayer told the paper.
The movie mogul reportedly wants an ‘older woman’ on his defense team, and wants to hire former Manhattan sex-crimes prosecutor Linda Fairstein as a trial consultant.
But one source told the DailyMail.com that Brafman’s resignation is a ploy by Weinstein to ‘delay the trial’.
‘Seeing people like Marisa in the courtroom at his last appearance scared Harvey,’ they added.
Marisa Tomei was among a group of women who attended Weinstein’s December hearing in T-shirts from the anti-abuse organization Time’s Up.
At that same hearing, a judge denied Brafman’s request to have Weinstein’s entire sexual assault case thrown out.
The announcement came just a day after the Post published an expose claiming that Brafman and Weinstein had a ‘blowout argument’
But Weinstein will surely feel the loss without Brafman, who has successfully defended the likes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.
Since Weinstein’s May 2018 indictment, Brafman has brought evidence of errors in the prosecution’s investigation, which led to charges being dropped from complaints brought by one of three alleged victims.
Lucia Evans claimed that Weinstein had forced her to perform oral sex on him in his Tribeca office in 2004.
That claim fell apart however after a friend of Evans, who was with her the night that she met Weinstein, told detective Nicholas DiGaudio that her friend had willingly performed a sex act on Weinstein in exchange for a film role.
DiGaudio then encouraged the witness to keep quiet and, in the presence of her lawyer, informed her that ‘less is more.’
He also did not report the information and is now under investigation himself.
It was a major win for Bradfman, although his motion to have the entire cause thrown out was rejected by New York Supreme Court Justice James Burke in December.
Sources claimed that Brafman was angered over the fact that Weinstein wanted to expand his legal team for the May trial
Since Weinstein’s indictment, Brafman has brought evidence of errors in the prosecution’s investigation, which led to charges being dropped from one of his alleged victims
Weinstein’s lawyers argued that the case had been ‘irreparably tainted’ by DiGaudio’s alleged coaching of a potential witness and one of the accusers.
They also said the grand jury that indicted Weinstein should have been shown friendly emails he exchanged with his two accusers after the alleged attacks.
But Burke ruled Weinstein’s prosecutorial misconduct claims had ‘no basis’ and that prosecutors were under no obligation to give the grand jury evidence favorable to the defense.
He denied Weinstein’s demand for a hearing to examine the police investigation and rebuked his lawyers for what he said were ‘speculative’ claims that political pressure had led to the charges.
‘This court has found the grand jury presentation to be legally sufficient to support the charges and that the proceedings were properly conducted,’ Burke said.
‘Dismissal is an exceptional remedy and only available in rare cases.’
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex. He is currently free on $1million bail.
But Weinstein will surely feel the loss without Brafman, who has successfully defended the likes of Dominique Strauss-Kahn (pictured together) and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs
Brafman also represented Michael Jackson as he faced child molestation charges in 2004
Following Burke’s decision, Brafman said he was disappointed with the ruling but remained confident that Weinstein would be ‘completely exonerated’ at trial.
‘We intend to continue to vigorously defend this case to the best of our ability,’ Brafman told reporters after the hearing in December.
Now Weinstein will have to find someone to replace Brafman before his trial begins on May 6 in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Brafman’s resignation also came on the same day that Esquire published a lengthy profile on the attorney, including past interviews in which he mentioned Weinstein.
During one such interview, Brafman said he wasn’t offended by the fact that Weinstein was seeking legal advice from other lawyers.
‘Harvey is the type of guy who gets a second opinion on his tuna salad,’ Brafman said at the time.
The star defense lawyer also told Esquire that he could handle the notoriously hot-headed mogul’s behavior.
‘I take the abuse better than most,’ Brafman said. ‘I can say to him, “You can’t tell me to go to hell, because you need me.'”