Agatha Christie star cut from drama over rape allegations has all charges dropped
A British actor edited out of the BBC adaptation of an Agatha Christie drama following accusations of rape has had charges against him dropped for insufficient evidence.
Ed Westwick, 31, vehemently denied the accusations against him when they were made in November.
The BBC, however, decided to remove the Christie drama, Ordeal by Innocence, from its Christmas schedule.
And in January they went one step further, announcing that Westwick would be edited out and his scenes reshot, with Christian Cooke playing his role. Fellow cast members including Bill Nighy, Anna Chancellor, Anthony Boyle and Alice Eve were to join Cooke on location in Scotland to shoot the new scenes, which eventually aired later in the year.
On Friday prosecutors in Los Angeles announced that they had dropped charges against Westwick.
The Stevenage-born actor, best known for his role on Gossip Girl, was accused in November of raping two women and sexually assaulting a third in 2014.
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Actress Kristina Cohen made the first allegation in a post on Facebook, writing that Westwick held her down and raped her at his home in West LA. Two more women – actress Aurelie Wynn and Rachel Eck – came forward with their own accounts.
Prosecutors said on Friday in a memo that two of the women provided witnesses to help corroborate their accounts, including some who were outside the room where the alleged incident took place. But the evidence was inconclusive, they said.
“Those witnesses were not able to provide information that would enable the prosecution to prove either incident beyond a reasonable doubt,” prosecutors wrote. “Prosecution on those two incidents is declined due to insufficient evidence.”
The memo also states that some additional women made allegations of inappropriate touching, but that the incidents fell outside the statute of limitations.
Westwick denied the claims against him from the beginning, calling them “provably untrue.”
His lawyer, Blair Berk, told TMZ on Friday that it was “clear from the start” that the accusations were “absolutely untrue”.
“It is a shame there are those who prejudged this case and that it took over eight months for Ed to be officially cleared of all of these charges,” he said.
“I hope that those who made such quick judgment here not knowing anything about the abundant evidence of innocence in this case will hesitate next time before they so publicly accuse someone who has committed no wrongdoing."