Harvey Weinstein hires NY defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman

FILE PHOTO: Harvey Weinstein speaks at the UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, NY, U.S. on December 5, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

NEW YORK: Harvey Weinstein has hired Manhattan criminal defence attorney Benjamin Brafman to represent him in New York, a spokeswoman for the Hollywood producer said on Wednesday, days after New York police said an unidentified woman had accused Weinstein of rape.

“We do not believe an indictment of Weinstein is imminent,” the spokeswoman for Weinstein said in an emailed statement.

“A formal presentation will be made on Weinstein’s behalf in the appropriate course of the investigation, and we strongly believe we will demonstrate that no criminal charges are warranted.”

The New York City Police Department said on Friday that it was investigating a seven-year-old case, in which Weinstein was accused of rape and was gathering evidence.

More than 50 women have claimed Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them over the past three decades.

Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. Reuters has been unable to independently confirm any of the allegations.

Asked to comment on Weinstein’s statement, Joan Vollero — a spokeswoman for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. — said, “We’re not commenting on the investigation or any timeline.”

Brafman told Reuters on Wednesday that he had been on Weinstein’s defence team “for a while”.

Brafman, 69, has defended many high-profile cases, with clients including Michael Jackson, rapper Sean “Diddy” Combs, and “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli.

In addition to the NYPD, police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and London have said they were investigating allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein.

In 2011, Brafman defended Dominique Strauss-Kahn — a former French finance minister who was then head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) — when he was charged with sexually assaulting a hotel maid in midtown Manhattan.

Vance’s office eventually dropped the charges, citing the maid’s credibility.

Weinstein also will be represented on “any matters in New York” by Hollywood defence attorney Blair Berk, his spokeswoman said.

Berk has her own roster of celebrity clients, including rapper Kanye West, former Olympic champion, and reality TV star Caitlyn Jenner, and actor Mel Gibson.