Weinstein to ‘surrender’ to NY authorities Friday: US media
by Jennie MATTHEW / Agence France-Presse
Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to turn himself in to New York police on Friday and face sexual assault charges, nearly eight months after his career collapsed in a blaze of accusations by dozens of women.
US media reported that the former movie powerbroker — once the toast of Hollywood, with his films winning scores of Oscars — had been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury.
The New York Post said he would surrender to police for fingerprinting and then be taken to a Manhattan court.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office and New York police have investigated Weinstein for months, coming under growing pressure in recent months from the Time’s up movement for the fallen producer to be brought to justice.
Ben Brafman, Weinstein’s high-powered defense attorney, declined to comment Thursday. Neither the district attorney’s office nor the police department immediately responded to requests to comment.
Weinstein will face charges in connection to at least one accuser, former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who reported that the fallen power broker forced her into oral sex in 2004, The New York Times and New York Daily News said.
Police have previously confirmed an active Weinstein investigation regarding Evans, but the precise charges he could face remained unclear Thursday.
Police in Manhattan have also confirmed they had a credible rape allegation against Weinstein after “Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de la Huerta accused him of raping her twice at her New York apartment in late 2010.
The mogul’s career went down in flames last October over sexual abuse allegations following bombshell articles in The New York Times and New Yorker magazine, which sparked a sexual harassment watershed across the United States.
More than 100 women have since accused the twice-married 66-year-old of misconduct going back 40 years and ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape.
More than two dozen actresses including Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have said they were sexually harassed by the producer. A few including Asia Argento and Rose McGowan have said they were raped.
“Today we are one step closer to justice,” McGowan said, according to Variety.
“We were young women who were assaulted by Weinstein and later terrorized by his vast network of complicity. I stand with my fellow survivors. May this give hope to all victims and survivors everywhere that are telling their truths.”
– ‘Tried to get away’ –
Now a marketing consultant, Evans told The New Yorker’s Ronan Farrow that Weinstein approached her in a New York club in 2004 and that an assistant subsequently set up a daytime meeting at the Miramax office in Tribeca.
“He forced me to perform oral sex on him,” she said. “I said, over and over, ‘I don’t want to do this, stop, don’t,'” she added. “I tried to get away, but maybe I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t want to kick him or fight him.”
Eventually, she said, the burly executive “overpowered” her. “I just sort of gave up. That’s the most horrible part of it, and that’s why he’s been able to do this for so long to so many women: people give up, and then they feel like it’s their fault.”
She recalled that Weinstein appeared to find the encounter ordinary.
“It was like it was just another day for him,” Evans said. “It was no emotion.”
Weinstein has been investigated by British and US police, but has not yet been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual sex and has reportedly been in treatment for sex addiction.
He is also reportedly under federal investigation by the US attorney’s office in Manhattan.
Otherwise, he has been hit by a litany of civil lawsuits and The Weinstein Company — which sacked him — has since filed for bankruptcy.
His wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, left him shortly after the allegations surfaced, with police criminal investigations ongoing in London, Los Angeles and New York.
Earlier this year, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance was criticized for failing to bring a criminal case against him three years ago.
Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez went to police, accusing Weinstein of groping and harassing her in 2015, but the district attorney ultimately decided that evidence was insufficient to prosecute.
Acting on demand from the Time’s Up movement led by top Hollywood actresses, New York authorities in March vowed to “review” that decision.
Weinstein hired Brafman, one of America’s most celebrated criminal defense lawyers, last November, just days after New York police announced they were gathering evidence for a possible arrest warrant.
Brafman’s past clients include former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who ultimately escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011. (AFP)