As Harvey Weinstein lingers in Phoenix, Arizona, where he has reportedly been spotted dining out in some of the city’s finest restaurants wearing disguises, prosecutors in his hometown of New York City say a grand jury is preparing to hear evidence on whether to indict Weinstein on charges of rape.
As NBC New York reports, the Manhattan district attorney is expected to present its case against Weinstein to the grand jury as early as next week, a senior official familiar with the investigation tells News 4 New York.
The development comes after NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told reporters Friday that they were gathering evidence for a possible rape arrest of Weinstein, and that it had presented the case to the district attorney's office.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. told News 4 Tuesday he could not comment on the ongoing investigation into Weinstein or the report that the case will be presented before a grand jury next week.
"I really can't comment but we'll move as fast as we can to resolve the outstanding issues," he told News 4.
Cognizant of the controversy surrounding a 2015 investigation into Weinstein that nearly resulted in a charge of misdemeanor sexual assault, Vance emphasized that his office is working closely with the NYPD on the investigation: “We are on the same page when it comes to mission, which is protecting the public and preventing crime and building investigations and cases."
Vance’s office previously refused to prosecute the 2015 case, a decision it blamed on the NYPD for allegedly not coordinating its investigation with the DA’s office, though some have pointed out that Vance later received a campaign donation from Weinstein’s lawyers.
Vacen also urged any victim of sexual assault to contact his office, saying, "When that report is made, it will be investigated."
The NYPD’s investigation - one of two concurrent probes into alleged sex crimes committed by Weinstein - is focusing on allegations made by “Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de la Huerta.
Boyce said last week that investigators have interviewed actress Paz de la Huerta, who called police on Oct. 26. Boyce said detectives found the "Boardwalk Empire" actress' story believable and corroborated portions of her account.
De la Huerta told CBS News in an interview that aired last Thursday she was first raped in October 2010 after Weinstein gave her a ride home from a party, insisted on having a drink in her apartment and forced himself on her. She said he raped her again in December 2010 after coming to her apartment. She had been drinking and was not in a condition to give consent, the actress told CBS News.
Boyce said the factors that made de la Huerta's story credible included "the ability to articulate each and every minute of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did," he said.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said last week that if the crime had been committed more recently, and Weinstein was still in New York City, he would already be wearing bracelets.
"If this person was still in New York, and it was recent, we'd go right away and make the arrest," Boyce said Friday. "No doubt. But we're talking about a 7-year-old case. And we have to move forward gathering evidence first."
The investigations were launched after the New York Times reported in early October about Weinstein’s 30-year history of covering up assaults and harassment of women with settlements and NDAs. Since then, more than 80 women have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sex crimes ranging from harassment to rape.
Of course, the NYPD’s investigations represent two of the six that have been publicly announced - those include probes by the LAPD, Beverly Hills Police Department and Scotland Yard, potentially setting up a bruising battle for custody between the different jurisdictions over where and when Weinstein will be tried.
Furthermore, Weinstein’s former studio, Weinstein Co., looks like it’s headed for bankruptcy after Colony Capital announced today that it had backed out of a deal to buy most of the studio’s major assets.
The news also comes after Ronan Farrow published his third story about Weinstein for the New Yorker, which exposes the vast network of spies - including ex-Mossad agents - who aided Weinstein in silencing and intimidating women who spoke out against him, and journalists who tried to expose him.
According to Farrow, Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women in the fall of 2016 by hiring private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose him. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies.
Meanwhile, the Television Academy - the organization that organizes the Emmys - has joined the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in banning Weinstein for life.