NEW YORK — The Time’s Up organization is calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to investigate Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance for failing to prosecute disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein.
The organization penned an open letter to the governor for The Cut on Saturday urging him to launch an independent investigation to determine why Weinstein was not prosecuted for sexual abuse crimes against one of his accusers, Amber Battilana.
“Reports that District Attorney Cyrus Vance could have been improperly influenced by Mr. Weinstein and/or his representatives, and that senior officials within the DA’s office may have sought to intimidate Battilana are particularly disturbing and merit investigation,” the letter says.
In 2015, police conducted a sting and secretly recorded Weinstein demanding that Battilana go into his hotel room and admitting that he previously groped her breast. Vance ultimately decided there wasn’t enough proof and didn’t bring a case.
Following criticism over the decision last year, prosecutors said police arranged the sting without their knowledge and there were other proof issues, but police pushed back saying they’d presented enough evidence.
“…reports that the New York Police Department chose to isolate Battilana from Vance’s staff because they feared his office was actively working to discredit her story demand immediate scrutiny,” Time’s Up said.
New York City’s top detective said that police have gathered considerable evidence in the rape investigation of Harvey Weinstein, but that it is up to the district attorney to indict him.
“We are concerned that what appears to be the negative relationship between the sex crimes unit of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Special Victims Unit of the NYPD makes it even less likely that victims who have been assaulted by rich or powerful men will be willing to come forward,” Time’s Up said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.