The lead attorney in Harvey Weinstein's criminal case in New York wants out, a source with direct knowledge of the matter tells News 4.
The source said Monday that Benjamin Brafman, the noted Manhattan criminal defense attorney who has represented high-profile players from Dominique Strauss-Kahn to ex-pharma exec Martin Shkreli, would be asking Judge James Burke for permission to withdraw as Weinstein's attorney.
Details on the reasoning -- and Weinstein's possible reaction -- were unclear. Brafman declined comment when reached by News 4 Monday morning.
His reported self-ouster comes weeks after Burke denied a motion to dismiss Weinstein's criminal case, setting aside defense contentions that alleged improper police conduct in the investigation that led to the arrest should negate the indictment.
Burke's ruling buoyed a prosecution that has appeared on rocky ground in recent months amid a prolonged defense effort to raise doubts about the case and the police investigation.
At the time, Brafman said he was disappointed with Burke's ruling, but that he remained confident Weinstein would be "completely exonerated" at trial.
"We intend to vigorously defend this case to the best of our ability," Brafman told reporters after the late December hearing. "It does not in any way suggest that the case against Mr. Weinstein is going to end badly."
Weinstein is charged with raping an unidentified female acquaintance in his hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex and is free on $1 million bail.
Weinstein's next scheduled court date is in March.