As allegations pile up against Harvey Weinstein, the New York Times reports on a case that nearly exposed the producer's alleged serial sexual harassment two years ago. A police sting caught Weinstein admitting on tape that he grabbed an Italian model's breasts. But after a stable of well-connected Weinstein lawyers and handlers mobilized to discredit Ambra Battilana, 22, the case was dropped within two weeks in April 2015. Prosecutors, including current New York City DA Cyrus Vance, decided Battilana wasn't a credible witness because she disavowed statements she made in Italy related to a sex harassment claim, as well as a sex party thrown by former PM Silvio Berlusconi. Weinstein's lawyers said he touched Battilana's breasts to determine if they were real for a lingerie ad.
Prosecutors decided the allegations weren't strong enough. The police disagree. "We brought them a very good case," a senior NYPD official tells the Times. After the case was dropped, the Times says "Weinstein silenced Ms. Battilana with a substantial payment," though she says she then watched her fashion career fizzle. Meanwhile, the NYPD said on Sunday they were probing new allegations against Weinstein. And in London, cops said a third accuser stepped forward accusing Weinstein, 65, of sexually assaulting her three times between 2010 and 2015, the Telegraph reports. One of the accusers who has gone public, actress Lysette Anthony, tells the Mail on Sunday she chewed raw garlic to fend off Weinstein. She says she saw no way to speak out after he raped her. "Even after all these years, I can still wake up screaming," she adds. (Weinstein lost his Oscars membership.)