Asia Argento

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Asia Argento

Harvey Weinstein’s attorney Ben Brafman has condemned what he called the “duplicity” of actress and filmmaker Asia Argento in light of a report that she settled with a former child actor and musician over a sexual assault claim.

Benjamin Brafman blasted Argento on Monday (August 20) for what he called the “egregious” timing of her own allegation of rape against Weinstein last year, which he said would have taken place at the same time as she was settling out of court with Jimmy Bennett.

“This development reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein,” said Brafman in the statement. “What is perhaps most egregious, is the timing, which suggests that at the very same time Argento was working on her own secret settlement for the alleged sexual abuse of a minor, she was positioning herself at the forefront of those condemning Mr. Weinstein, despite the fact that her sexual relationship with Mr. Weinstein was between two consenting adults which lasted for more than four years.

“The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty.”

Argento was the centre of a report in The New York Times on Sunday in which it emerged she allegedly paid $380,000 to Bennett after a sexual encounter in a California hotel in 2013 when he would have been 17 and she was 37. The age of consent in the state is 18. A time of writing she had not commented on the developing story.

Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex and is due to appear in a New York court on September 20 when he will seek to dismiss a criminal indictment against him that includes charges of rape.