Ambra Battilana-Gutierrez Responds to Report of Linda Fairstein's Interfering in Weinstein Case
Urges New York Lawmakers to Pass Adult Survivors Act
NEW YORK, NY (05/06/2021) (readMedia)-- Today the Huffington Post reported that Linda Fairstein, the former New York City sex crimes prosecutor, maintained a close relationship with her successor Martha Bashford and weighed in on ongoing cases. Fairstein was enlisted by Harvey Weinstein's legal team in 2015, when Ambra worked with the NYPD to record Weinstein confessing to assaulting her. The HuffPo story details how Fairstein primed Bashford for her interview with Ambra in which she asked a victim of a sex crime if she'd ever been a prostitute. Weinstein was subsequently never charged for the assault against Ambra.
Ambra -- a member of the Model Alliance Leadership Council -- has previously written about her experience with law enforcement with fellow survivor Marissa Hoechstetter.
"When Harvey Weinstein assaulted me, I was a 22-year-old immigrant with limited English and no fancy lawyers to help me. Harvey Weinstein was a wealthy, powerful producer who had Linda Fairstein whispering in Martha Bashford's ear: she asked me if I was a prostitute, and he got a pass. The HuffPo story makes painfully clear how the system is stacked against survivors, even when we do everything we're 'supposed' to do like I did. New York Lawmakers need to pass the Adult Survivors Act now, so that survivors who've been screwed over have a shot at justice."
About the ASA
The ASA - (A.648 Rosenthal/S.66 Hoylman) - is the next important step that the New York State legislature must take to reform the State's long-outdated statute of limitations for survivors of sexual violence. Modeled on the Child Victims Act, the ASA would provide a one-year lookback window to survivors who were abused when they were 18 years old or over. If passed, adult survivors would have one year in which to file a civil claim -- no matter how long ago the abuse happened -- even if the statute of limitations has expired.
Recognizing that the constrained time limits in NY's statutes were not in line with what experts understand about trauma, the legislature in 2019 passed the CVA, which has allowed over 5,000 survivors of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits to date. That same year, the Legislature extended the civil and criminal statute of limitations for several felony offenses -- including extending the civil statute of limitations for Rape in the second and third degrees prospectively up to 20 years. However, the law does not apply retroactively, meaning that certain survivors who were abused prior to 2019, still have only between 1-3 years to file a civil lawsuit.
The ASA applies to Article 130 crimes, including Rape 2 and 3, criminal sex acts, among others and incest offenses in Section 255. Just like the Child Victims Act, the ASA would also waive the 90 day notice of claim requirement to bring a case against a public institution.
According to the science of trauma, it can take survivors years -- even decades -- to process sexual abuse. When those survivors are ready to come forward, it may be too late due to restrictive statute of limitations on sex crimes. For some survivors who may have reported within the statute of limitation, but failed to get a resolution in the criminal justice system the ASA provides a further pathway to justice.
The ASA will create new paths to justice for survivors who were denied access to our courts because of an artificially narrow statute of limitations. The bill will give all survivors, including people who were formerly incarcerated, individuals abused by an intimate partner, and disabled survivors, a much needed chance to hold their abusers accountable.