NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/CBSNews/AP) – The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the NYPD are pointing fingers over how they handled a sexual assault allegation against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The New York Times first reported last week that Weinstein settled at least eight sexual harassment lawsuits over the years. He was fired Sunday from the Weinstein Co., and the claims against him keep coming.

In a follow-up report Tuesday, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie told The Times that Weinstein had sexually harassed them.

Paltrow said when she was 22 years old, Weinstein placed his hands on her and suggested they go the bedroom for massages. She said she refused his advances, but later her then-boyfriend Brad Pitt confronted Weinstein about it.

Jolie said in the 1990s, she had what she called a bad experience with Weinstein and chose to never work with him again.

Aspiring screenwriter Louisette Geiss held a news conference Tuesday, saying Weinstein harassed her when they met to discuss a script.

“I could get a three picture deal and that he would green-light my script, but I had to watch him masturbate,” she said.

Separately, three women accused Weinstein of raping them in a story published online by The New Yorker, including the Italian actress Asia Argento and a woman who was an aspiring actress in college when she caught Weinstein’s eye.

In March 2015, model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told the NYPD that Weinstein had sexually assaulted her. The New Yorker published a recording obtained during the investigation in which Weinstein is heard admitting to groping Gutierrez.

Weinstein’s spokesperson responded, saying; “Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Weinstein.”

The NYPD said it investigated a misdemeanor sexual abuse complaint against Weinstein at that time and referred the case to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

The DA’s office ultimately decided not to file charges.

A statement issued by Tuesday by Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman read in part, “While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to provide a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent.”

The DA’s office pointed fingers at police, saying the NYPD arranged a controlled call and meeting between Weinstein and the woman — without its knowledge or input.

“The seasoned prosecutors in our Sex Crimes Unit were not afforded the opportunity before the meeting to counsel investigators on what was necessary to prove a misdemeanor sex crime,” the statement said.

The NYPD fired back, saying, “the case was carried out by experienced detectives and supervisors from NYPD’s Special Victims Unit.”

“The detectives used well established investigative techniques. The recorded conversation with the subject corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim’s complaint to the police a day earlier. This follow-up recorded conversation was just one aspect of the case against the subject,” the statement continued. “This evidence, along with other statements and timeline information was presented to the office of the Manhattan District Attorney.”

It’s something Pace University Law professor Bennett Gershman backs up.

“You are listening to a sexual pervert ply his trade,” Gershman told CBS2’s Brian Conybeare. “It’s so easy, and for a prosecutor to say there’s no proof of say there’s not proof of criminal intent? That’s what the prosecutor Vance said, that’s just so, so wrong.”

Actress and screenwriter Luisette Geiss is the latest accuser.

“I don’t think that Harvey Weinstein comprehends how much pain and suffering this brings me and scores of other women,” she said in a Tuesday press conference.

Also Tuesday, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama said they were “disgusted” by the recent reports.

“Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status,” they said in a joint statement. “We should celebrate the courage of women who have come forward to tell these painful stories. And we all need to build a culture – including by empowering our girls and teaching our boys decency and respect – so we can make such behavior less prevalent in the future.”

Weinstein has been a major Democratic Party donor, as he and his family have given more than $1.4 million in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle.

He visited the White House during the Obama presidency and helped put on a film workshop in 2013, where the then-first-lady described him as a “wonderful human being, a good friend and just a powerhouse.”

Hillary Clinton said in a tweet Tuesday she was “shocked and appalled,” and “the behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior.”

Democrats and Clinton have been major beneficiaries of the Weinstein’s family largesse, with $200,000 to the party’s Senate campaign accounts, $23,200 to its House campaign arm senatorial and $46,350 to Clinton and to HILLPAC, a committee Clinton used to support other Democrats while senator. The figures include contributions attributed to Weinstein, first wife Eve Chilton and current spouse Georgina Chapman, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

Weinstein and Chapman also contributed $10,000 to Obama.

Meanwhile, CBS News learned Weinstein made an unsuccessful last-ditch effort to save his career, sending a letter to several movie industry executives asking for support just hours before he was fired. He wrote, “I am desperate for your help.”

Ben Affleck, George Clooney and Jennifer Lawrence became the latest celebrities to join the chorus condemning Weinstein’s behavior. Affleck said it was “completely unacceptable,” Clooney called it indefensible, and Lawrence said she was deeply disturbed to hear the news.

Lawrence, who won an Academy Award for the Weinstein production “Silver Lining’s Playbook,” went on to say that she did not experience any form of harassment personally, nor did she know about the allegations. She added her heart goes out to all of the women affected.

“I think Harvey is finished in Hollywood. I really do,” says Matthew Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t see how anyone would work with him.”

More: Meryl Streep On Harvey Weinstein Charges: ‘I Didn’t Know’

Fashion designer Donna Karan is facing heavy criticism after coming to Weinstein’s defense.

“It’s not Harvey Weinstein. You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they’re asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble,” she said.

Karan’s comments drew a sharp rebuke from actress Rose McGowan, one of Weinstein’s accusers. She tweeted, “Donna Karan you are a deplorable. Aiding and abetting is a moral crime.”

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “No more Donna Karan for me.”

The designer apologized Monday, saying, “My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel… I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended.”

The Weinstein Company’s board, including Harvey’s brother Bob, denied they had any prior knowledge of what they called the “extreme sexual misconduct and sexual assault” allegations.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. Jack Foobar says:

    I guess I know where I’m moving if I’m a fat disgusting Jewish Democrat that loves raping people. And we haven’t even gotten to the pedophiles in Hollywood yet. This guy just liked raping barely legal adults. There are much worse out there, and you paid for their next victim with your movie ticket purchase.

  2. This guy is a flake and should be immediately disbarred…but lawyers like judges like politicians always find themselves above the law like the donors they help.

  3. The NY DA office is pointing fingers at the NYPD at the same time the NYPD is doing the same to the NY DA office. 100 years ago, you would have had to see all this play out at the theater on the big screen. Back then, it would have been called ‘The Keystone Cops’…

  4. Troy Dynes says:

    The NY DA aided Weinstein to abscond out of the U.S. to avoid prosecution. “It’s a New York thing.”

  5. Liberals are immoral maggots! All one has to do is look at Bill and Hillary Clinton for proof of this…Bill and his Lewinski Oval Office blue dress mess…and Hiillary with her Huma love affair….BTW: where is Huma these days?

  6. Jim Morrison says:

    The Buck stops with Cyrus Vance

  7. Don McCoy says:

    You can’t trust ANYONE in authority, anymore. Not sure if you ever could…but its ridiculous. The police (and especially the Feds) are little more than political enforcers. A guy like Harvey would NEVER be prosecuted if there were no public outrage. Even NOW it’s hit and miss…IF he even comes back from “sex addiction therapy,” in Europe–where he’s untouchable.

  8. Dreaded Parakeet says:

    “My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel… I am truly sorry to anyone that I offended.”

    “My statements were taken out of context and do not represent how I feel… I am truly sorry for my offensive comment.” There, I fixed that for you Donna.

  9. Forgive me NY DA, for I have sinned…
    Harvey, make 3 anti-Republican movies, “bundle” a 100k for my new PAC and all will be forgiven.

  10. Why pick on poor Harv? All he did was take a page from Bill Clinton’s playbook.

  11. Liberals always blame others for the bad, immoral and perverted behavior.

  12. Did chubby Weinstein physically force these women to have sex with him?

    Were these women so egotistically driven to be, “movie stars” that they saw that having sex with chubby was a good way to get what they wanted?

    From what has been released to the media so far the idea of filing sexual assault charges against chubby a real stretch to me…

  13. texasjimbrock says:

    Now, if it had been a Conservative donor….

    1. Dreaded Parakeet says:

      It would have been on a loop for months and months with Meryl and the usual suspects celebs and politicians spearheading the attacks and attaching republicans, conservatives, the president, and anybody else they hate in one lump while virtue signaling how great liberals are.

  14. Billy Rumble says:

    Donna, Have you ever been in a situation where you have expertise in a subject and someone with little knowledge makes a comment that you know is baseless? That person comes off as silly and arrogant. Listen to your friends. They may know something about this subject. Until then, avoid public comments.

  15. Chuck Blinn says:

    Did Harvey think that women were in to turkey necks? With decorator stubble? So he had to resort to using the power card.

  16. Sam Dennis says:

    Statements taken out of context? Truth is always appropriate ….

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