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Part of sexual assault case against Hollywood producer dropped

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A judge has dismissed one of the six allegations of sexual assault against the disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Appearing in court while wearing a GPS monitor and out on a $1m (£757,000) bail, the judge agreed to throw out the charge relating to Lucia Evans, who has accused Weinstein of forcing her to perform oral sex in 2004.

Lawyers representing the 66-year-old, a father of five, claim the development taints the entire case against him.

Predicting the judge may throw out all of the allegations, Weinstein’s lawyer Ben Brafman told reporters: “”This is obviously a very positive development.”

In a story published by The New Yorker magazine a year ago, Ms Evans alleged the assault happened during a meeting in his office when she was a 21-year-old student.

Harvey Weinstein
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The 66-year-old was forced to wear a GPS monitor

Ms Evans’ lawyer, Carrie Goldberg, claimed that the prosecutors’ decision not to oppose the dismissal of the charge had seen them “abandon” her client.

She said: “Let me be clear: the decision to throw away my client’s sexual assault charges says nothing about Weinstein’s guilt or innocence.

“Nor does it reflect on Lucia’s consistent allegation that she was sexually assaulted with force by Harvey Weinstein.

“It only speaks volumes about the Manhattan district attorney’s office and its mishandling of my client’s case.”



Harvey Weinstein in New York, one year after allegations against him emerged








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One year on, Weinstein avoids questions

Mr Brafman told the judge that Ms Evans had lied to both a grand jury and to The New Yorker about her encounter with Weinstein.

He also claimed a police officer had corruptly attempted to influence the case by keeping a witness from testifying about her misstatements.

“The integrity of these proceedings has been compromised,” Mr Brafman said.

Weinstein’s defence lawyer later suggested, outside court, that Ms Evans should be criminally prosecuted for perjury.

He added: “The case against Mr Weinstein is, in my view, not sustainable. I’m not certain he [the judge] will have any choice but to dismiss the entire indictment against Harvey Weinstein.”

Details of the potential problems with Ms Evans’ testimony were not discussed in court, but were expected to be included in court filings set to be unsealed on Thursday.

Five remaining charges in the criminal case include claims Weinstein raped a woman in 2013 and forced a sex act on a different woman in 2006.

Weinstein denies assaulting anyone.

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Assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said the rest of the prosecution’s case was strong, telling the judge: “In short, your honour, we are moving full steam ahead.”

The revelation of numerous allegations about Weinstein, beyond the three women involved in the criminal case, helped spark the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault.

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Journalist Jamal Khashoggi killed at consulate in Turkey

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Saudi Arabia has confirmed Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul after a fight broke out.

Mr Khashoggi, 59, went missing on 2 October during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers and pressure had been growing on Saudi Arabia to explain his disappearance.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor was quoted on state television as saying that a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.

An official Saudi source said “discussions” between Mr Khashoggi and others at the consulate “did not go as required and developed in a negative way, leading to a fight and a quarrel”.

The source added that “the brawl aggravated to lead to his death and their attempt to conceal and cover what happened”.

Eighteen Saudis have been arrested so far in connection with the journalist’s death and the state news agency said the kingdom “expresses its deep regret” over Mr Khashoggi’s death.

In other developments, one of Saudi Arabia’s top intelligence officials, Ahmed El Asiri, has been sacked, as has royal court adviser Saud Al Qahtani.

The Saudi rulers were expected to say that General Asiri received orders from Prince Mohammed bin Salman to capture Mr Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood or overstepped them, according to two of the people familiar with Saudi plans who were quoted in the New York Times.

Demonstrators dressed as Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and US President Donald Trump (C) protest outside the White House in Washington, DC, on October 19, 2018, demanding justice for missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Donald Trump has been criticised for being soft on the Saudi leadership

Concerns grew for Mr Khashoggi’s safety after Turkish authorities said he had been killed in a premeditated murder.

An official, speaking to Reuters news agency, said at the time: “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate.”

A senior police source told online news website Middle East Eye the journalist had been “brutally murdered, killed and cut into pieces”.

“Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,” the source said.

Mr Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice, pictured waiting in front of the consulate, has not seen him since he entered the building
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Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice has not seen him since he entered the building

US president Donald Trump was criticised for not being tough enough on Saudi Arabia, saying that it was “too early” to determine consequences.

A White House statement described the murder as a “tragic incident”.

Turkish officials accused Saudi Arabia of a state-sponsored killing and a number of countries, including the UK, pulled out of a major investment summit in Riyadh next week in protest.

Saudi consulate in Istanbul
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Mr Khashoggi went missing while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford said from Istanbul that confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death was “not too much of a surprise from our sources in Turkey“.

“I think the Saudi just thought there was nowhere else to go – they had to admit it.

“Now they’ve been backed into a corner where they’ve had to admit something very badly went wrong.”

Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, fled Saudi Arabia for Washington in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne.

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He had been criticised by Saudi authorities for being too progressive and he had described Prince Mohammed as a “brash and abrasive young innovator” – and even said he was “acting like Putin”.

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Journalist’s killing was ‘tragic incident’

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The US has described the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “tragic incident”.

Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers and, after weeks of pressure, Saudi Arabia has admitted he died after a fight between him and others at the consulate.

Eighteen people have been arrested and countries such as Turkey have accused Saudi Arabia of a state-sponsored killing.

But the US stopped short of such strong language, with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders saying Mr Khashoggi’s death was a “tragic incident”.

She said: “The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far.

“We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process.

“We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée, and friends.”

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Latest News

Journalist Khashoggi killed at consulate

Published

on

Saudi Arabia has confirmed Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul after a fight broke out.

According to the Saudi public prosecutor, the fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.

Eighteen Saudis have been arrested so far in connection with the journalist’s death, state television added.

In other developments, one of Saudi Arabia’s top intelligence officials, Ahmed El Asiri, has been sacked, as has royal court adviser Saud Al-Qahtani.

The Saudi rulers were expected to say that General Asiri received orders from Prince Mohammed to capture Mr Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood or overstepped and took the dissident’s life, according to two of the people familiar with Saudi plans who were quoted in the New York Times.

Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October, during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers.

His disappearance brought intense pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what had happened and concerns grew after Turkish authorities said he had been killed in a premeditated murder.

An official, speaking to Reuters news agency, said at the time: “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate.”

A senior police source told online news website Middle East Eye the journalist had been “brutally murdered, killed and cut into pieces”.

“Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,” they said.

US president Donald Trump was criticised for not being tough enough on Saudi Arabia, saying only that consequences would “have to be very severe” if Saudi rulers were found to have killed him.

Also, a number of countries, including the UK, pulled out of a major investment summit in Riyadh next week in protest.

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford said from Istanbul that confirmation of Khashoggi’s death was “not too much of a surprise from our sources in Turkey“.

“I think the Saudi just thought there was nowhere else to go – they had to admit it.

“Now they’ve been backed into a corner where they’ve had to admit something very badly went wrong.”

Mr Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia for Washington in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne.

He had been criticised by Saudi authorities for being too progressive and he had described Prince Mohammed as a “brash and abrasive young innovator” – and even said he is “acting like Putin”.

More follows…

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