The attorney for Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday claimed the disgraced movie mogul had been in a consensual relationship with the victim in his New York City rape case for 10 years before and after the alleged offense.
Ben Brafman also called the rape charge against Weinstein "absurd" following a meeting with the judge hearing the case on Tuesday in Manhattan.
"This is an extraordinary case in my judgment where the only rape victim that Mr. Weinstein is accused of raping is someone whom he has had a 10-year consensual relationship both before the alleged incident and after the alleged incident, " he said.
He added, "I daresay in almost 40 years of handling criminal cases on both sides I've really never been in the position where I am defending a crime which is serious on its face but when you drill down into it, based on my investigation also, is in my opinion absurd."
Weinstein turned himself into authorities in New York City to face charges of rape and other crimes, capping a months-long saga that saw dozens of women come forward with accusations that spanned four decades and three continents. Tuesday's hearing came on the first business day since his arrest.
After the hearing, Brafman -- who also represented former International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn during a 2011 rape case that fell apart amid questions about the accuser's credibility -- said he was concerned about the "ability of people to keep an open mind" because of the publicity Weinstein's arrest had received over Memorial Day weekend.
Prosecutors did not comment on the case to reporters outside court on Tuesday.
Neither prosecutors, Brafman nor police identified the two women at the center of the Weinstein complaint, but several sources familiar with the investigation told News 4 the rape charges stem from a complaint from a woman previously not named publicly. Sources told News 4 the criminal sex act charge stems from public allegations made by actress Lucia Evans.
According to the criminal complaint revealed Friday, a woman reported Weinstein kept held her in a Lexington Avenue hotel room against her will on March 18, 2013, and raped her. "At the time of the incident, informant had clearly expressed her lack of consent to the act," the complaint says.
The second accusation in the complaint is nearly a decade older; in that case, a different woman who News 4 reported to be Evans told authorities Weinstein grabbed her head and forced her to give him oral sex in a Greenwich Street home on one occasion between June and September of 2004.
Weinstein faces charges of first- and third-degree rape, along with first-degree criminal sexual act; all three are class B felonies. If convicted, he faces a maximum 25 years in prison on each of the two first-degree counts. He intends to enter a not guilty plea to all charges, his attorney said.
The ex-film executive posted $10 million bond and was released from custody pending his next court appearance. He must wear an ankle monitor, surrender his passport and restrict his travel to New York City and Connecticut. Should he need to travel outside those states, he will require court and prosecutorial approval. The prosecutor also requested an order of protection against a woman whose name will be kept sealed.