Disgraced Hollywood mega producer Harvey Weinstein better enjoy his stay at the tony $2,000-a-night rehab in Arizona, because when once his “treatment” has ended, he might be facing a stint in a much less comfortable institution.
More than 20 women have come forward over the last week to accuse Weinstein of crimes ranging from groping and harassment to rape actresses have come forward to accuse Weinstein of a bevy of crimes ranging from sexual harassment - prompting his wife to leave him, the company that he founded to fire him, and virtually the entire entertainment industry – not to mention a bevy of prominent Democrats – to recoil in revulsion.
Now, the possibility that Weinstein’s dramatic fall could end with him behind bars has become even more probable as law enforcement agencies in both New York City and London have opened investigations to into Weinstein’s behavior, citing the multitude of allegations that his victims have shared with the media, the Guardian and Daily Mail have reported.
Police in New York and London confirmed the reports in on-the-record statements to the Guardian:
In London, the Metropolitan police are assessing a sexual abuse allegation made against Weinstein, while in his home town of New York police are carrying out a “review” looking for new complaints.
Scotland Yard told the Guardian on Thursday: “The Met has been passed an allegation of sexual abuse by Merseyside police on Wednesday 11 October. The allegation will be assessed by officers from the child abuse and sexual offences command.” There is no indication the complaint relates to child abuse.
Lt John Grimpel of the NYPD said in a statement: “Based on information referenced in published news reports the NYPD is conducting a review to determine if there are any additional complaints relating to the Harvey Weinstein matter.
News of police investigations comes on the heels of another report, published late last night by the Mail, alleging that the FBI has is investigating Weinstein for sex crimes. The move comes amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears that Weinstein could attempt to pull a "Roman Polanski" where he lands in some non-extradition country in Europe to dodge U.S. prosecution. However, the involvement of Scotland Yard will make it much more difficult for the former producer to evade the law.
Meanwhile the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it would hold a special meeting on Saturday to discuss allegations against Weinstein, as speculation grew that it would follow the lead of its British equivalent, Bafta, in suspending his membership.
“The Academy finds the conduct described in the allegations against Harvey Weinstein to be repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the Academy and the creative community it represents,” it said in a statement.
According to the Guardian, Weinstein could face up to 25 years in prison on sexual assault charges if the latest abuse allegations are tried in criminal court. Specifically, the claims described by Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actor, rise to the level of a felony rape under New York laws.
To be sure, a conviction (as Bill Cosby’s trial recently demonstrated) could be difficult to achieve, which could deter a prosecution. The NYPD previously investigated Weinstein in 2015 for misdemeanor sex abuse, but the charges were eventually quashed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.