Prosecutors have defended their decision not to press charges against Harvey Weinstein after an Italian model claimed she was sexually assaulted by the Hollywood producer.

In March 2015, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez told police that Weinstein invited to her to his New York City office and touched her inappropriately.

Detectives then launched a sting operation and asked Ms Gutierrez, 22, to agree to meet the producer while wearing a hidden microphone.

In a recording published by The New Yorker, Weinstein can be heard trying to persuade the model to enter his hotel room.

:: Harvey Weinstein – Accusers, critics and defenders

Gutierrez is heard telling Weinstein clearly she is not comfortable with the situation as he tells her repeatedly to come and sit next to him and to go to the bathroom after saying he is going to have a shower.

Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance has said he was sickened by the audio, but added he felt it was not enough to secure a conviction.

He said: At the end of the day we operate in a courtroom of law not the court of public opinion.

Our sex crime prosecutors made a determination that this was not going to be a provable case, and so the decision was made not to go forward.

Obviously he has some serious issues, and the tape is terrible.

Mr Vance added that the Hollywood mogul’s status and donations to the Democratic Party had nothing to do with his decision.

He said: If we had a case that we felt we could prosecute and my experts felt we could prosecute against Harvey Weinstein, we would have.

We take on many, many, many difficult sex crime prosecutions with individuals irrespective of their background or their money so that’s not an issue for us.

In a statement, New York City Police Department criticised Mr Vance, saying the audio recording was just one aspect of the case against Weinstein.

It added: The detectives used well established investigative techniques.

The recorded conversation with the subject corroborates the acts that were the basis for the victim’s complaint to the police a day earlier.

Weinstein has been left by his wife, British fashion designer Georgina Chapman, amid claims he raped three women.

Meanwhile, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and a string of other Hollywood stars have accused the producer of making unwanted advances towards them.

British model and actress Cara Delevingne has claimed Weinstein asked her to kiss another woman before later trying to kiss her on the lips during a meeting about a film.

The producer continues to unequivocally deny allegations of non-consensual sex against him and of illegal sexual harassment.

On Wednesday, police were called to his daughter’s Los Angeles home amid reports Weinstein was seen in the middle of the road outside.

Los Angeles Police Department said its officers responded to calls of a disturbance but left after it was revealed there was no crime and it was a family dispute.
(c) Sky News 2017: Harvey Weinstein: Prosecutors defend decision not to press charges