He made a name as the scourge of men who traffic in underage prostitutes and reduced the national backlog of untested rape-evidence kits. But he also faced withering criticism for dropping the prosecution of a French politician on sexual assault charges in 2011 and steadily mounting outrage over his decision in 2015 that there was a lack of sufficient evidence to make a case against Mr. Weinstein, the movie producer.
.. Sexual assault cases are notoriously challenging to prove in court
.. Mr. Vance’s office will face a long legal battle against a wealthy defendant and one of the city’s best defense lawyers, who will spare no effort to portray Mr. Weinstein as someone who behaved badly but did not break the law
.. The prosecution will have to prove Mr. Weinstein used physical force or threats of harm to get what he wanted, a high bar in cases with little or no physical evidence.
.. prosecutors have said the attack occurred in Manhattan more than five years ago — a gap in time that creates an additional hurdle for prosecutors.
.. there was grumbling among advocates for rape victims about his office’s grueling questioning of women raped by acquaintances before an arrest was made.
.. Several critics, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid antagonizing prosecutors, said the questioning of rape victims in Manhattan was unnecessarily harsh... Former members of the sex crimes unit said it is standard procedure to rigorously vet a victim’s credibility to avoid surprises at trial. “You better know everything that might come out,” one said. “It’s not personal.”.. the police closed proportionately fewer rape cases in Manhattan than other boroughs, but prosecutors had a high conviction rate... Mr. Weinstein had hired Elkan Abramowitz, a friend and campaign donor to Mr. Vance, to represent him and had paid for private investigators to dig up information about her statements in the Italian case... Some critics in the Police Department said Mr. Vance had become gun–shy of taking on powerful men after being forced to drop a sexual-assault charge in 2011 against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund.. the Weinstein case fed an impression that Mr. Vance’s office gave the wealthy preferential treatment... Public defenders pointed out poor defendants are often arrested and charged with forcible touching on nothing more than a woman’s complaint. “They are prosecuting our black and brown clients on sex crimes with far less,” said Justine M. Luongo.. Advocates for rape victims have met repeatedly with Mr. Vance and his top lieutenants, demanding that Ms. Bashford and her assistants adopt more modern, less confrontational interview techniques for sexual assault victims, which take into account that trauma often scrambles memories.They also urged prosecutors to employ more expert witnesses to explain why women sometimes do not fight with their attackers or report rapes right away... Mr. Vance and his team hope more women will come forward now that Mr. Weinstein has been arrested. Some of the older cases in which he cannot be charged may yet come into play too, as evidence of a pattern of behavior.
“Sexual predators are now on notice: No one is too rich or too powerful to fall,” said Susan Ossorio, the president of National Organization for Women-New York City. “What’s happening now is bigger than this case. Harvey Weinstein’s arrest really represents an era of new accountability.”