NY Governor Second Guesses DA in Harvey Weinstein Case



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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered an investigation of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, following outcry over a failed 2015 prosecution of disgraced mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Cuomo announced that he has mobilized New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman — a prominent critic of Weinstein who abruptly halted the sale of The Weinstein Company over alleged executive negligence and a lack of compensation for his accusers — to lead the inquiry.
“There are questions about the handling of the 2015 sexual assault case of Ms. Ambra Battilana against Harvey Weinstein,” Cuomo said in a late-breaking Monday statement, referring to a recent open letter from the #TimesUp movement.
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“The Manhattan District Attorney is currently in the midst of a separate investigation …  I have directed the Attorney General to begin a review of the 2015 case in a way that does not interfere with the current investigation and … to review the entire matter and report to me on its findings,” he continued.
Cuomo stressed that it was “critical not only that these cases are given the utmost attention but also that there is public confidence in the handling of these cases.”
The #TimesUp letter was published in New York Magazine’s vertical The Cut on Sunday, and specifically wanted Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance probed “to determine the facts related to the decision not to prosecute Harvey Weinstein for sexual abuse crimes against one of his accusers, Ambra Battilana.”
Their specific concerns regard Vance’s response to a 2015 NYPD audio recording of Weinstein pressuring Battilana for sex, and admitting that he had groped her in the past. The audio recording was among the biggest revelations in Ronan Farrow’s New Yorker piece on Weinstein, which rocked the country last October.
According to Farrow, police sources at the time were angry at Vance’s decision not to use the audio to make a case against Weinstein.
Also Read: ‘SNL’: Bill Hader Is the Canadian Harvey Weinstein and Everyone is Sorry (Video)
“We are confident that any review will confirm that our Office has pursued its investigation without fear or favor, based on the merits alone,” said Manhattan DA spokesman Danny Frost.
“We will of course provide the Attorney General with any necessary information, and expect that he will promptly determine that our Office has been guided solely by the facts and the law,” he added.

Indie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was fired last October from his position of co-CEO of The Weinstein Company, revolutionized the Oscar race both at TWC and his previous company, Miramax.

Harvey Weinstein first got into the Oscar race in a big way in 1990 with a “guerilla” campaign for the art-house drama “My Left Foot” by setting up meet-and-greets between Academy members and film talent. The result? Oscar wins for stars Daniel Day Lewis and Brenda Fricker.

In 1995, Weinstein mounted a surprisingly aggressive campaign for upstart director Quentin Tarantino’s ultraviolent “Pulp Fiction” — helping to redefine what sorts of movies could appeal to the Academy. Tarantino shared a screenplay Oscar with Roger Avary.

Miramax snagged its first Best Picture victory for 1996’s “The English Patient” — which earned a total of nine awards, including for director Anthony Minghella and lead actress Juliette Binoche.

Weinstein built an awareness campaign for the then-unknown Billy Bob Thornton for 1996’s “Sling Blade” — which yielded an Oscar for his adapted screenplay and a nomination for Best Actor.

Miramax pulled off a double coup with 1997’s “Good Will Hunting,” delivering Robin Williams his long-awaited first Oscar and a rare screenplay prize for two twentysomething newbies, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

One year later, Miramax pulled out all the stops after landing two Best Picture nominations, including for the Italian-language drama “Life Is Beautiful.” According to Peter Biskind’s book “Down and Dirty Pictures,” star-auteur Roberto Begnini “moved into L.A. for a month during the peak of the voting period.” The film came away with three Oscars, including Best Actor.

That year, Miramax pulled off a bigger upset when “Shakespeare in Love” seized Best Picture over Steven Spielberg’s heavily favored “Saving Private Ryan.” “Shakespeare” won a total of seven Academy Awards, including for actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Judi Dench.

Miramax surprised many by landing yet another Best Picture nomination for the 2000 Juliette Binoche-Johnny Depp bonbon “Chocolat.”

In 2003, the Weinsteins had a hand in four of the five Best Picture nominees: “Chicago,” “The Hours,” “Gangs of New York” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (on which they had producer credits). “Chicago” won the top prize — as well as five others.

In 2004, Miramax took advantage of a careful reading of Academy rules and scored four nominations for the Brazilian inner-city drama “City of God” — even though the film had failed to land a Best Foreign Language film nomination the previous year.

The Weinsteins exited Disney-owned Miramax and founded their own company in 2005 — and got right back in the Oscar race with two nominations for one of their first releases, the Felicity Huffman vehicle “Transamerica.”

By 2009, The Weinstein Company landed its first Best Picture contender with “The Reader” — and also snagged Kate Winslet her first Oscar as Best Actress in a role that many thought was more of a supporting part.

Two years later, TWC scored its first Best Picture win for “The King’s Speech” — as well as three other awards, including Best Actor for Colin Firth.

The following year, Weinstein pulled off another coup: landing five Oscars, including Best Picture for the mostly silent, black-and-white ode to Old Hollywood, “The Artist.”

In 2013, TWC again had two horses in the Best Picture race: Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained” and “Silver Linings Playbook” — which landed Jennifer Lawrence the prize for Best Actress.

Last year, Weinstein successfully landed six nominations — including Best Picture — for Garth Davis’ tear-jerker “Lion.” But just as Open Road won the top prize in 2016 for “Spotlight,” another upstart, A24, used a lot of Harvey touches to score the indie “Moonlight” a Best Picture win.

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This is the first Oscar season in decades without the disgraced mogul who challenged the major studios and changed the game at the Academy

Indie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was fired last October from his position of co-CEO of The Weinstein Company, revolutionized the Oscar race both at TWC and his previous company, Miramax.

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