Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, facing numerous allegations of sexual assault and abuse, is set to turn himself in to police Friday morning, according to multiple US media reports.
Mr Weinstein, 66, has previously denied any wrongdoing and his lawyer Benjamin Brafman has told The Independent he is not commenting on the matter at this time.
The former executive of Miramax was accused by several actresses – including Salma Hayek, Lupita Nyong’o, and Ashley Judd – of sexual harassment. At least 75 women have come forward accusing him of misconduct of some kind, reported first by the New York Times last year.
Mr Weinstein, producer of Shakespeare in Love, Pulp Fiction, and Gangs of New York, will probably surrender on charges related to a case in New York state court. Just yesterday, a state grand jury had convened to hear evidence in that case regarding the sex abuse allegations and it was unclear if the jury had decided to indict Mr Weinstein or not.
The New York police, for months now, had been calling for a warrant for Mr Weinstein’s arrest. They argued they had evidence of his alleged assault of two women – Paz de la Huerta and Lucia Evans. Mr Weinstein’s lawyer said his client denies any claims made by the women.
The exact charges Mr Weinstein may be brought up on are unclear at this time. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has not immediately responded to a request for comment.
Mr Weinstein’s legal troubles do not end with local police. Investigators in Los Angeles and London are also looking into claims of his alleged misconduct in those cities, where he lived and frequented over the years of reports.
The New York Attorney General’s office is suing the Mr Weinstein’s former company of for “egregious violations of New York’s civil rights, human rights and business laws”.
Former Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement that the Weinstein Company “repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination”. The lawsuit, filed in New York County Supreme Court, was brought on by the attempted $500m sale of the movie studio to a former official of President Barack Obama’s administration, Maria Contreras-Sweet.
Ms Sweet, who ran the US Small Business Administration from 2014 to 2017, had been in negotiations for several weeks and had promised to set up a majority female board and set up a fund to assist women who claimed Mr Weinstein sexually harassed them, according to the LA Times.
The Oscar-winner was fired from the company in the wake of the many allegations, which he ran with his brother Bob Weinstein.
Mr Schneiderman recently resigned from his post amid allegations of sexual assault.
Federal authorities are also investigating the Reservoir Dogs and Il Postino: The Postman producer, suspecting him of violating federal stalking laws and looking into any possible financial impropriety.
The Trump administration, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions, had allegedly asked the FBI in October 2017 to open the investigation over fears the Hollywood producer would remain in Europe after his rehabilitation and avoid prosecution as film director Roman Polanski had, according to The Daily Mail.
However, his lawyers confirmed in March of this year that Mr Weinstein had travelled to Scottsdale, Arizona, for sex addiction rehabilitation.
The explosive New York Times report which first made public the charges against Mr Weinstein also sparked the #MeToo social media movement for people to come forward about sexual harassment and abuse.
It had a ripple effect across several industries and in its wake other prominent men in Hollywood, Silicon Valley, and US politics have been publicly accused resulting in resignations and lost elections. It also catalysed the #TimesUp movement, which calls for gender equity in the workplace and is a fund established by several actresses to provide legal defence funds for those who need it.
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