Model Recorded That Harvey Weinstein Audio on Her Phone After Police Equipment Failed

Ambra Battilana catches the uncomfortable moment herself after the NYPD bungles the job

Last Updated: October 16, 2017 @ 10:28 AM

That incriminating 2015 audio recording of Harvey Weinstein making unwanted sexual advances and to model Ambra Battilana — a key feature in The New Yorker’s damning expose last week that accelerated the mogul’s fall from grace — almost never happened.

NYPD recording equipment failed, the New York Times reported in a story Sunday story, and the audio only exists because the then 22-year-old Italian used her cellphone to capture the conversation, in which The Weinstein Company co-founder admitted to grabbing her breasts.

Investigators also told the Times that “security cameras had caught video of Ms. Battilana leaving Mr. Weinstein’s office looking distraught.” The paper concluded, “The police saw it as more than enough to warrant an arrest.”

The story, co-reported by Meghan Twohey who also co-authored the Times’ original Harvey exposé, was  broader exploration of why Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to indict Weinstein.

In comments to the Wrap last week, Vance’s office shunted blame to the FBI and defended its decision to pass on pressing charges.

“While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent,” Manhattan Chief Assistant District Attorney Karen Friedman-Agnifilo told The Wrap. “Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful. This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges.”

Nevertheless Vance’s office has a long history of backing off investigations of powerful offenders.

Earlier this month, the New Yorker published a piece showing that in 2012 he declined to press charges against Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump over some shady real estate practices after taking a visit from Trump lawyer — and Vance campaign donor — Marc Kasowitz.