Harvey Weinstein seeks dismissal of indictment due to emails between him and accuser
Attorneys for the disgraced film mogul filed a motion for dismissal in New York federal court Friday, citing, among other things, the discovery of evidence that the grand jury was not shown -- specifically "dozens of emails" sent from one of Weinstein's anonymous accusers, characterized as "extensive warm, complimentary and solicitous messages to Mr. Weinstein immediately following the now claimed event and over the next four year period."
"These communications irrefutably reflect the true nature of this consensual intimate friendship, which never at any time included a forcible rape," Weinstein's attorney, Ben Brafman told CNN in a statement.
The emails and text messages -- allegedly sent and received through Weinstein's official company account and phone -- were obtained by his legal team earlier this year after a bankruptcy judge in Delaware granted access to them for his criminal defense.
In an email sent from one of Weinstein's accusers on January 5, 2014, ten months after the alleged rape in March 2013, she writes, "Your (sic) the one who makes it look good with your smile and beautiful eyes!! But thank you that makes me so happy to hear."
In another email from the same unnamed accuser to Weinstein on July 10, 2014 she writes, "There is no one else I would enjoy catching up with that understands me quite like you. I don't get off work usually till after 7 and coming from (redacted). I know I will be hungry, what is your timing? Do you have time for dinner?"
The same unnamed accuser sent an email to Weinstein on July 26, 2014, writing, "I'm at work. Just had u cross my mind and thought u would send a hello. I am well."
"Love to cross your mind it's my favorite exercise," Weinstein responds, according to the filings.
When contacted by CNN, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment on Friday's motion for dismissal.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to six felony sex crimes -- two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape, one first-degree criminal sex act charge and one criminal sex act.
The charges stem from allegations from three women, according to court documents.
In an interview with CNN Friday afternoon, Brafman said it would be "difficult but not impossible" to seat an impartial jury should Weinstein's case move forward to trial.
"I hope to find 12 people in Manhattan who may have heard a lot of the allegations against Mr. Weinstein but will give the court their sworn assurances that they will decide this case based on the evidence that comes into the courtroom and not on what they made have read, or what they may have heard," Brafman said. "I think part of what we're trying to suggest in these motions to dismiss is that contrary to what people may have read and may have heard, there is another side here."
Weinstein has denied all allegations of "nonconsensual sexual activity," and he's remained free after posting $1 million cash bail.
The charges against Weinstein came nine months after The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct.
CNN's Laura Ly, Emanuella Grinberg, Ann O'Neil, Elizabeth Joseph and Brynn Gingras contributed to this report.
'Christopher Robin' serves up sweet take on Winnie the Pooh
Director Marc Forster has an eclectic resume -- including a Bond movie and "World War Z" -- but the key entry for these purposes is "Finding Neverland," his moving 2004 look at Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie.
Throw in a spoonful of "Mary Poppins" for good measure, and you have "Christopher Robin," which doesn't rise to that level. Yet as with that earlier movie, the universal plot is all about an adult accessing his inner child, having lost touch with that pure, unadulterated side of himself.
Introduced as a lad cavorting with his plush pals, Christopher is quickly shown getting shipped off to boarding school, growing up into Ewan McGregor and getting married (Hayley Atwell plays his wife, making the most of a relatively small role).
Now, however, he's got adult-sized responsibilities, which include finding time for his own daughter. Having survived World War II, he's working for a large luggage company, but thanks to his officious boss (Mark Gatiss), faces arduous hours and the unsettling prospect of slashing jobs to make ends meet.
Christopher doesn't pray for guidance, but it nevertheless comes -- along with a reminder about what's truly important -- when Pooh (voiced, as in his animated likeness, by Jim Cummings), stumbles back into his life. And while he remains a "bear of very little brain," he's prone to saying some rather profound things -- at least, when he can get his mind off his rumbly tummy long enough to do so.
Christopher Robin is also reintroduced to the rest of the gang, including Eeyore (Brad Garrett, receiving most of the best lines), Tigger (also Cummings), Piglet (Nick Mohammed) and Rabbit (Peter Capaldi).
A.A. Milne's creation is among the most durable of children's literary characters for a reason, and has already produced one fine movie in the last nine months, the biographical "Goodbye Christopher Robin."
That film was obviously a lot darker than this one, and the latest movie gets off to a somewhat slow start before the plot kicks into gear. As a result, younger kids might grow a bit fidgety while the story (conjured by multiple writers) establishes the groundwork for Christopher's plight.
Gradually, though, "Christopher Robin" settles in, exhibiting a genuine sweetness without becoming saccharine -- again, no small feat. Give much of the credit to McGregor in the thankless task of playing opposite his adorably furry co-stars, ably handling the comedy derived from the fact that he doesn't dare let others see them.
In one of their languid early moments, Pooh muses about those signature do-nothing days in the Hundred Acre Wood, "I would've liked it to go on for a while longer."
Frankly, "Christopher Robin" would be stretching things if it tried to prolong this relatively slim premise for one more minute. But as is, the movie mostly works-- a fleeting reminder of the simple pleasures of hanging out with family and a talking bear, which, in these frenetic times, is the kind of silliness that's worth savoring.
"Christopher Robin" premieres Aug. 3 in the U.S. It's rated PG.
Jimmy Kimmel jokes about being tapped to host Oscars
On Monday's episode of "Jimmy Kimmel Live," the comedian joked he likely got the job based on the proximity of his show's studio.
"The producers and the Academy went through a long list of names -- and in the end, they decided that -- since I am already right across the street from where they do the show -- I was the closest person to host," Kimmel said. "I guess I have to get a tux now. Or maybe I'll wear jean shorts?"
Kimmel also announced his wife is expecting their second child.
"There's a lot of exciting stuff going on. Congratulations to me," he said. "I'm hosting the Oscars and I had sex. Two things as a teenage boy I never thought would be possible."
Oscar producers Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd are betting on Kimmel to infuse the show with new energy -- and boost ratings -- after an 8-year low for last year's ceremony.
ABC has an agreement with the Academy to broadcast the Oscars through 2020. Coming off Kimmel's well-received performance as Emmy host in September, Disney/ABC Television Group chief Ben Sherwood made no secret about wanting him at the helm on Oscar night.
"We thought Jimmy elevated the Emmys. We thought Jimmy has earned it and we're very hopeful that Jimmy will get [the Oscars job]," Sherwood said.
Kimmel's got a tough task ahead of him -- as several previous Oscar hosts can attest to.
Still, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs expressed confidence they've found the right host.
"He knows who he is, he knows the audience and he knows how to captain a ship with many moving parts," Isaacs said in a statement Monday. "We're thrilled he has agreed to host our show."
The 89th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Saroo Brierley's inspiring search for family roars to life in "Lion"
Brierley was 5 years old when he was separated from his older brother one night while at a train station in rural India.
Brierley's older brother had left him sleeping on a bench, but when he returned, Brierley -- then known as Sheru -- was gone.
Young Sheru had awoken from his nap and boarded a train in search of his older brother. His day-long journey landed him more than 700 miles east of his home, in a place where he didn't speak the language.
He'd later learn he'd ended up in Calcutta.
For weeks, he lived on the streets, escaping a bevy of dangers. Eventually, he was taken in at an orphanage and adopted by a couple in Australia, after officials failed to locate his family and hometown.
Since Sheru did not know how to spell his name, Brierley ended up going by an incorrectly spelled version -- "Saroo."
Twenty years later, Brierley decided to launch a search for the mother, siblings and home he remembered only in fuzzy childhood memories. To do this, he decided to retrace his steps using Google Earth.
Those who don't know the rest of the story soon will. (Warning: Some movie spoilers follow below.)
Brierley's journey to find his family in India is the subject for The Weinstein Co's "Lion," a movie due out November 25 that is a likely Oscar contender.
But when he started his quest, Brierley said the possibilities -- the interest in his story, his subsequent book and the film starring Dev Patel that now tells his tale -- were the farthest thing from his mind.
"I was just so high on hope and so determined to find what I'd been sort of yearning for for some time and defuse the weight off my shoulders," Brierley told CNN in a recent interview.
Brierley has now seen "Lion" a few times, he said. And even though he lived the experience, he said the film was a "roller coaster of emotions."
"I tried to suppress my tears but I couldn't," he said. "It was just so hard to."
He wasn't the only one. Brierley said his Australian mother Sue, played in the film by Nicole Kidman, was "enchanted" by the movie.
"She was speechless at some times, to the point where she grabbed my leg and almost dug her nails into it," Brierley said, laughing.
Brierley's warm relationship with his adoptive mother is one of many emotional drivers in the movie. And though some parts of the movie were "heightened" for storytelling purposes, Brierley said it was important to him and the filmmakers that the characters be portrayed authentically.
He was especially pleased with one key scene between Patel and Kidman, in which they talk about her motivation for adopting him as a boy.
"The way that was acted out was just so organic and pure," he said.
There's one key opinion Brierley is still waiting to get -- that of his birth mother, Fatima Bi Munshi.
He said they're working on getting the movie translated into her native Hindi, as she does not read. Though he's recounted his experience to her before, he thinks the movie will put the journey into a greater perspective.
"I think it's going to give her a shock as in, 'Whoa, I didn't realize that this is actually what happened,'" he said.
CNN's Sara Sidner visited Brierley's mother back in 2012, shortly after the two had been reunited.
Then, she recounted the disappearance of her son and spoke about the devastating second loss she experienced the same year. Brierley's oldest brother, who had accompanied him that fateful night, was killed a month after Brierley went missing.
"I would go to sleep at night and my mind would wander in madness," she said. "I didn't feel like eating. I kept looking out for him on the streets, asking people about his whereabouts. I found him nowhere. It was a very difficult time."
Brighter days have fallen upon the once fractured family.
Brierley said he's been back to India about 14 times since they were reunited, in part thanks to the trips he's taken as a result of the interest in the story of their reunion.
"It's worked pretty well and I'm so touched and humbled about everything --- that things like this can happen," Brierley said. "I wish there were more stories like this."
He's working to make that happen.
Brierley said he hopes to get into script writing, with a focus on penning films that lift people's spirits. He wants them to walk into the theater "thinking about things that are going to change their minds in a positive way [or] ... who they are as humans."
Brierley's life has undoubtedly changed as a result of what started as an against-the-odds quest. And though the ultimate result came with some sadness, he said at the end of the day, "that's just life."
"I guess this was my destiny," he said.
CNN's Sara Sidner contributed to this report.
Taylor Swift's secret songwriting makes everybody watch Calvin Harris' Twitter feed
The former couple apparently mixed business with pleasure and the result while catchy, isn't playing out pretty. A representative of Swift told People magazine Wednesday that the pop star secretly wrote the song "This Is What You Came For," under the pseudonym,"Nils Sjoberg." The hit, recorded by Harris and Rihanna, has been at the top of the charts all summer.
Swift's contribution, of course, was not news to Harris, who one would assume was there when the collaboration happened. But he quickly launched into live-stream-of-conscious mode about the reveal in a series of tweets.
Though initially complimenting Swift as an "amazing lyric writer" and saying his ex "smashed it as usual," Harris was not pleased that sole credit was going to one of the most successful songwriters of all time.
"I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym," he wrote. "Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though."
What Harris tweeted next reads slightly bitter ex-boyfriend.
"I figure if you're happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do," Harris added, referring to Swift's relationship with actor Tom Hiddleston. "I know you're off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I'm not that guy, sorry. I won't allow it."
Swift is no stranger to social media spats, previously exchanging words with Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry.
Harris concludes by appearing to address Swift directly, "Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you've earned a great one."
Considering Swift has spent her summer throwing celebrity-packed Fourth of July parties and locking lips with Loki, it seems she's already doing so. Let's just hope she and Hiddleston keep their collaborations on the dance floor and out of the studio.