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Harvey Weinstein's lawyer claims rape accuser and Weinstein had 10-year affair

Attorney Ben Brafman made the claim to reporters after complaining to the judge that publicity could hurt his client.
by Tracy Connor and Meredith Mandell /  / Updated 

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Harvey Weinstein's attorney said Tuesday that a woman the disgraced producer is charged with raping "had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship" with him.

Defense lawyer Ben Brafman made the claim to a gaggle of reporters after a two-hour closed-door meeting with prosecutors and a judge where he complained that publicity about the case could taint the legal process.

Brafman did not name the accuser and she is not identified in charging documents that say Weinstein raped her in 2013 in a hotel room.

The lawyer called the allegation "absurd."

"This is an extraordinary case in my judgement where the only rape victim that Mr. Weinstein is accused of raping is someone with whom he has had a 10-year consensual sexual relationship — both before and after the alleged incident," he said.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office declined to comment.

Weinstein is also charged with a criminal sexual act against a different woman, Lucia Evans, who has said he forced her to perform oral sex after luring her to a meeting at his Tribeca office in 2004.

Brafman told reporters outside the Manhattan courthouse that he could not discuss much of what was said in Tuesday's session, which Weinstein did not attend.

But he did complain that publicity about his client's arrest could sway grand jurors and claimed that prosecutors were being pressured to seek an indictment.

"The ability for people to keep an open mind is of concern to me," Brafman said

"Demanding an indictment or prosecution is inappropriate pressure. It is unprecedented," he added. "It troubles me and I want to make those matters known to the court.

"I'm not certain that there's any remedy but I wanted to make clear I was unhappy with those issues."

Weinstein surrendered to police. He is free on $1 million bail, but must wear an ankle monitor and stay in New York or Connecticut unless he gets permission from the court to leave.

Brafman has said Weinstein plans to plead not guilty. He has until Wednesday to decide whether to testify in his own defense before the grand jury that will be asked to indict him.

Even before Tuesday, Brafman had given a preview of a possible defense strategy, telling reporters after last week's arraignment that Weinstein "did not invent the casting couch in Hollywood."

"Bad behavior is not on trial in this case," he said.

Other women who say Weinstein mistreated or molested them — including a string of Hollywood actresses — have welcomed his arrest but criticized his release on bail — which prosecutors agreed to.

"If there was truly 'equal justice under the law,' Harvey Weinstein would be behind bars in Rikers today, waiting for his own day in court, not free to roam New York, his other hunting ground, wearing an ankle bracelet," Annabella Sciorra wrote on Twitter.

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