Harvey Weinstein

Lyvans Boolaky/imageSPACE

Officials: Harvey Weinstein To Surrender In NYC To Face Sex Crime Charges

May 24, 2018 - 3:39 pm
Categories: 

NEW YORK (WCBS 880/AP) -- Officials say disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will surrender to authorities Friday to face sex crimes charges brought by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Two sources confirmed to CBS News that Weinstein plans to surrender and is expected to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court sometime on Friday.

It would be the first criminal case against Weinstein to come out of the barrage of sexual abuse allegations from scores of women that destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning that brought down other powerful men in what has become known as the #MeToo movement.

Two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press that the criminal case involves allegations by then-aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who told a magazine that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex. She was among the first women to speak out about the 66-year-old film producer.

It was unclear whether the case might involve other women who accused Weinstein of attacks.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for weeks, and the precise charges against Weinstein weren't immediately known.

Weinstein's attorney, Ben Brafman, tells WCBS 880 he is not commenting on the reports about his client. The Manhattan District Attorney's Office also declined to comment.

Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting at his New York office in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College.

"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,' " she told the magazine. "I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. I didn't want to kick him or fight him."

Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, didn't report the incident to police at the time, telling The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that she blamed herself for not fighting back.

"It was always my fault for not stopping him," she said.

Brafman said in court paperwork filed this month in a bankruptcy proceeding that the allegations that Weinstein forced himself on women were "entirely without merit."

"I am trying my very best to persuade both the federal and state prosecutors that he should not be arrested and or indicted, because he did not knowingly violate the law," Brafman wrote.

Brafman said in the same court filing that he had been informed that Weinstein was a "principal target" of an investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan.

The Manhattan DA's office previously came under fire for its handling of sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, centering on the case of Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. In 2015, police conducted a sting after she accused Weinstein of groping her, secretly recording Weinstein apologizing for this conduct.

District Attorney Cy Vance ultimately decided there wasn't enough proof and didn't bring a case. Following criticism over the decision last year, prosecutors said police arranged the sting without their knowledge and there were other proof issues, but police pushed back saying they'd presented enough evidence.

After scores of new allegations against Weinstein surfaced, both the NYPD and the district attorney's office said in March that they were working together, but no grand jury has been convened despite police officials saying publicly they have enough evidence for a case.

Then-New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced at the beginning of the month that he planned to appoint a special deputy to investigate how Vance had handled the sexual assault allegations against Weinstein and others.

Weeks later, Schneiderman himself became embroiled in his own sexual misconduct controversy, when a New Yorker article alleged that he had physically abused four women. Schneiderman announced his resignation within hours of when the article came out.

Weinstein has been facing a growing army of investigators and prosecutors.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, the federal investigation into Weinstein reportedly centers on whether the then-Hollywood producer made travel arrangements that had women crossing state lines for the purpose of having sex.

NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea indicated so far, the federal investigation is separate.

"Our sole involvement with the special victims at this point in time is with the Manhattan DA's office, but we will look to, if appropriate, have conversations with the Southern District,” Shea said, “and I'm not going to get into any details on the allegations beyond that there are several."

A person familiar with the matter confirmed to CBS News that the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York has launched the investigation against Weinstein.

Legal analyst Joey Jackson said the federal involvement likely stems from a frustration at the fact that Weinstein has yet to be held legally accountable under criminal law.

“I think that there’s a certain attitude now based upon the #MeToo movement that there needs to be accountability. It’s not only a situation where the rich and famous can be protected and do as they do, when they want, how they want. I think there’s a real frustration that people engaged in this, and I think what you’re seeing is the frustration on the part of the federal prosecutors in looking to get involved,” he said.

More than 75 women have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing. Several actresses and models accused him of criminal sexual assaults, including film actress Rose McGowan, who said Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah, "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who said he raped her in her New York apartment in 1992, and the Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe, who said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008. Another aspiring actress, Mimi Haleyi, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his New York apartment in 2006.

NYPD detectives said in early November that they were investigating allegations by another accuser, "Boardwalk Empire" actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.

McGowan said she was "in shock" at the news that Weinstein would face charges.

"I still have very guarded hopes. The justice system has been something very elusive. And I hope in this case it works. Because it's all true. None of this was consensual." she said. "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us. It shows that it can be done."

The statute of limitations for rape in New York was eliminated in 2006, but not for attacks that happened prior to 2001.

Several filed a federal lawsuit claiming his efforts to prey on women and cover up complaints amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Authorities in California and London are also investigating assault allegations. Britain has no statute of limits on rape cases; some of the allegations under investigation there go back to the 1980s.

Harvey and his brother Bob Weinstein started his now-bankrupt company after leaving Miramax, the company they founded in 1979 and which became a powerhouse in '90s indie film with hits like "Pulp Fiction," and "Shakespeare in Love." The Weinstein Co. found success with Oscar winners "The Artist" and "The King's Speech."

Even in a Hollywood where some film producers have long enjoyed outsized power, Weinstein stood out as someone who could make or destroy careers — a factor that kept many of his accusers, and people aware of his problematic conduct with women, from speaking out.

The public allegations against Weinstein helped prompt a broad public reckoning about sexual misconduct.

Major figures in media and politics have lost their jobs or had their reputations tarnished by allegations that they subjected women to unwanted advances or outright assaults. They include TV hosts Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, comedian Louis C.K, Democratic Sen. Al Franken, chef Mario Batali, and casino magnate Steve Wynn.

(© 2018 WCBS 880. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)