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Harvey Weinstein story snares Ben Affleck again

Ben Affleck
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck finds himself in the middle of the Harvey Weinstein story again.

An attorney for Weinstein, the disgraced former Hollywood producer accused of sexual harassing and assaulting several women, has released an e-mail from Affleck that the attorney contends undermines actress Rose McGowan’s claim that Weinstein raped her at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997.

McGowan writes about the alleged assault in her new book, “Brave,” and has said she told Affleck about it afterward.

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In the e-mail, released by attorney Ben Brafman to bolster his client’s claim that whatever happened in the hot tub at the film festival was consensual, Affleck claims McGowan didn’t tell him she’d been raped.

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“She never told me nor did I ever infer that she was attacked by anyone,” Affleck writes. “Any accounts to the contrary are false. I have no knowledge about anything Rose did or claimed to have done.”

Affleck, who had sent the e-mail to Weinstein prior to the New York Times and New Yorker stories exposing the former producer’s alleged misconduct, has since said he believes and supports McGowan. Affleck has not commented on the release of the e-mail.

The Affleck missive is one of two Brafman released. The other, written by McGowan’s former manager Jill Messick, also raises questions about the actress’s truthfulness, according to the attorney.

“When we met up the following day, she hesitantly told me of her own accord that during the meeting that night before she had gotten into a hot tub with Mr. Weinstein,” Messick writes. “She was very clear about the fact that getting into that hot tub was something that she did consensually and that in hindsight it was also something that she regretted having done.”

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For her part, McGowan responded to the e-mail with an expletive-filled tweet directed at Weinstein: “. . . You will burn. You will be an empty suit coffin. You go fall off the planet you [expletive].”

In a statement Wednesday, the actress’s publicist, Adam Kersh, said Weinstein and Brafman are continuing to “malign, smear and ‘slut shame’ ” McGowan.

“It is an affront not only to Rose but to the hundreds of women who have come forward with their stories of harassment, sexual abuse and rape perpetrated by Mr. Weinstein and those like him,” the statement read. “This is a sad, pathetic old-fashioned sexist attempt to undermine obvious truth and the gaslighting will no longer be tolerated.

“Mr. Weinstein’s attempts to discredit Rose is part of his 20-year-long campaign to silence her, clearly proving he IS the monster so many women have described him to be.”

Affleck and Matt Damon had a longstanding relationship with Weinstein, dating to “Good Will Hunting,” which Weinstein produced.