Governor Andrew Cuomo has quietly postponed an investigation into the DA’s handling of a 2015 groping case against disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, according to a letter obtained by several news outlet.
Cuomo announced in March that he had tasked the New York State Attorney Genera’s Office with investigating Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance’s decision not to prosecute Weinstein after Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accused him of groping her at a hotel three years ago.
In a June letter sent to Attorney General Barbara Underwood, Cuomo asked her to suspend the investigation for six months because it could possibly interfere with a separate criminal case against Weinstein stemming from news articles last year in which numerous women alleged they had been sexually assaulted by the producer.
Governor Andrew Cuomo quietly suspended an investigation into the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office handling of a 2015 groping allegation against Harvey Weinstein
Model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez accused him of groping her at a hotel three years ago but the producer was not prosecuted at the time
At the time Vance said there was not enough evidence to prosecute the producer despite audio recording supporting the allegation
‘As we said when the Governor directed the Attorney General to investigate the Manhattan DA’s Office, it should not interfere with the DA’s ongoing criminal case,’ Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever told BuzzFeed News.
‘Given the recent indictment and prosecution of Harvey Weinstein by the District Attorney, the Attorney General’s investigation has been postponed for six months.’
Earlier this month, Weinstein was indicted on predatory sexual assault and other charges after women came forward with claims that he assaulted them. The producer appeared in court in June to plead not guilty to three felony counts.
Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted.
A spokeswoman for Underwood confirmed that she was asked to temporarily halt the investigation into the DA ‘to avoid any interference wit the District Attorney’s ongoing prosecution of Harvey Weinstein’.
The spokeswoman said they remain committed to ‘conducting a comprehensive, fair and independent review’.
It’s not clear how long the criminal case against Weinstein will play out in court, with BuzzFeed suggesting that it could last months or even years.
Earlier this month, Weinstein was indicted on predatory sexual assault and other charges stemming from women’s allegations of sexual assault. He’s pictured in a New York City court on June 5 where he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts.
Attorney General Barbara Underwood is handling the investigation into the DA’s handling of the Weinstein case
In a March statement, Cuomo asked then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to look into Vance’s handling of the 2015 Weinstein groping allegation.
At the time, Vance defended his decision not to prosecute the movie producer saying that there was not enough evidence despite there being an audio recording of Weinstein admitting he grabbed Gutierrez’s breast.
Vance’s office came under further scrutiny in October following news stories detailing allegations by dozens of women who said they had been assaulted by Weinstein.
Schneiderman handled the investigation into the DA up until May when he resigned hours after the New Yorker published a story that he had allegedly physically abused four former girlfriends. Cuomo then tasked Underwood with leading the investigation.