Detectives in New York and Los Angeles have been hinting for weeks that they’re close to arresting disgraced studio head Harvey Weinstein for one of any number of credible sexual assault claims that both fall within the statute of limitations and involve accusers who can provide the evidence prosecutors need to make pursuing a case worthwhile.
As the various investigations into Weinstein wend toward completion, the Guardian is reporting that police departments in several disparate jurisdictions are collaborating to help strengthen their cases and ensure that the maximum number of prosecutable cases are brought against the one-time mogul.
Detectives in several cities investigating Harvey Weinstein for sex crimes are likely to be collaborating as they build evidence and assess whether the film producer can be arrested and charged, experts believe.
Investigators in New York, London and Los Angeles have opened criminal cases against Weinstein in the last six weeks, as the disgraced producer faces lawsuits on both sides of the Atlantic following a flood of accusations of sexual misconduct.
Los Angeles police department (LAPD) detectives have interviewed witnesses in preparation for presenting a case to the district attorney’s office. The DA will then decide whether to press criminal charges over accusations that Weinstein raped an unnamed actress in a hotel in Beverly Hills in 2013, according to David Ring, a lawyer for the alleged victim.
Many believe the NYPD will be the first to act, if only because Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. quashed an earlier investigation into Weinstein before accepting a campaign donation from Weinstein lawyer David Boies. The LAPD and Beverly Hills police are also expected to pursue criminal charges. But police in London are also reportedly preparing to file charges based on the testimony from three women who’ve accused Weinstein of rape.
Of course, as we’ve pointed out in the past, the pending criminal cases against Weinstein are only the beginning of his legal problems. Many of the more than 80 women who have come forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault or harassment plan on filing civil suits, which are much easier to prove than criminal cases, and often result in out-of-court settlements.
The first civil suits targeting Weinstein, and his former company Weinstein & Co. for abetting his monstrous behavior, are already being filed.
The sheer volume of complaints against Weinstein, Christensen said, will be much more easily introduced in civil cases, where rules about evidence involving a defendant’s character and the standard of proof are less stringent than in criminal court.
The UK lawyer Jill Greenfield is expected to file civil lawsuits on behalf of a number of women in the high court in London in due course, having written to Weinstein demanding settlements but without hearing back so far.
People are contacting me,” she said. “I’m expecting to coordinate a claim for a number of victims."
Following the decision not to charge Weinstein in connection with her case, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez signed an agreement in which the film producer paid her $1m.
“I thought I needed to support my mom and brother, and how my life was being destroyed, and I did it,” she told the New Yorker earlier this week.
The actor Dominique Huett filed the first civil suit since complaints against Weinstein came pouring out in early October, in the New York Times. She is claiming $5m in Los Angeles superior court, alleging that the Weinstein Company “aided and abetted” Weinstein in “repeated acts of sexual misconduct".
Of course, Weinstein has been hiding from the world – reportedly wearing disguises when he ventures out in public – communicating with the world only through his defense attorneys, Ben Brafman and Blair Berk. With penury and incarceration looking almost inevitable at this point, he’ll need all the legal guidance he can afford.