Los Angeles: As expected, Harvey Weinstein turned himself in to the New York Police Department at the First Precinct in Tribeca this morning to be arrested and face criminal charges stemming from multiple sexual assault allegations. Facing potentially years behind bars, sources say Weinstein is likely looking at first degree and third degree rape charges and a first degree criminal sexual act charge from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
Weinstein arrived amid a throng of media and onlookers gathered at the police station, with NYPD barricades up to separate them from the disgraced Hollywood producer as he was escorted inside.
Though accused by close to 80 women, the charges apparently center on three incidents within the Empire State’s statute of limitations: former Boardwalk Empire actor Paz de la Huerta has claimed that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010, and a 2004 occurrence where college student Lucia Evans said the Hollywood mogul compelled her to perform oral sex on him.
After being booked at the Lower Manhattan precinct, Weinstein and lawyer Benjamin Brafman will next head to nearby criminal court for an arraignment hearing later today to enter a plea. At the hearing, a predetermined bail of $1 million will be set, and Weinstein’s passport will be handed over to authorities due to flight-risk concerns. As part of the process of the criminal complaint, the producer could be ordered to wear a monitoring device.
“Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts,” Brafman has said repeatedly when defending his client in the court of public opinion. Silent when word of today’s arrest went public Thursday, the attorney will now have to make the case for Weinstein’s innocence in the court of law.
Coming just more than six months since Weinstein’s allegedly vile behavior was first exposed by the New York Times in early October, today’s actions by Cyrus Vance Jr’s Manhattan D.A.’s office are the first criminal charges the Shakespeare In Love producer has been hit with. They come following months of investigation by police in various jurisdictions, districts attorney on both coasts and the Department of Justice.
Amid the revelations of decades of sexual abuse and assault against Weinstein, the fallout has been swift. He was pushed out of the company he co-founded with his brother Robert on October 17 after TWC’s besieged board voted to ratify his dismissal. Among a series of honors rescinded and repudiated by past recipients of his campaign donations, both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and TV Academy voted to cast out the once dominating Weinstein.
The fallout also saw various legal battles between the Weinstein brothers and TWC, and a civil rights lawsuit filed by now-resigned New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman against TWC earlier this year before the scandal-crippled company ended up in bankruptcy court.
On May 8, a judge approved a $310 million bid from Dallas-based private equity firm Lantern Capital to take over TWC’s remaining assets.
At the same time, with subpoenas going out and key witnesses and documents coming in, a grand jury had been convened against Harvey Weinstein by the much-criticized Manhattan D.A., who many said was dragging its heels on taking action. “Our investigation is in an advanced stage,” communications director Danny Frost noted curtly earlier this week of the efforts by the team led by prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon — a remark that seems even more biting today.
More recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has been looking into Weinstein’s actions. They opened a sex-crimes investigation to probe whether the producer crossed state lines with the intent of committing an assault in New York and violated laws to prevent sex trafficking.
Weinstein is being investigated by the LAPD, who sent three cases to the L.A. County D.A. on February 8. As UK police continue their probe, the Beverly Hills Police passed two cases of sexual assault to Jackie Lacey’s office on January 2.
There are also nearly a dozen lawsuits filed in the courts against Weinstein from some of the dozens and dozens of women who have gone public in the past several months with their allegations of assault or harassment by the producer.