Harvey Weinstein expected to surrender on rape charges
Disgraced producer under investigation for months by New York police, district attorney
Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein is expected on Friday morning to surrender to New York City police on charges he sexually assaulted two women, according to the New York Times and other news outlets.
Weinstein will be charged with first- and third-degree rape in one case, and with first-degree criminal sex in another, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to the Times on condition of anonymity.
The latter case involves Lucia Evans, a former aspiring actress who told the New Yorker that Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in 2004.
The victim in the rape case has not been identified.
Dozens of women have accused the co-founder of the Miramax studio and The Weinstein Co. with sexual misconduct including rape, prompting investigations in New York, Los Angeles and the U.K.
New York police detectives said in early November that they were investigating allegations by another accuser, Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.
A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the Evans case for weeks, following a months-long investigation by New York police and the Manhattan district attorney's office.
Benjamin Brafman, a lawyer for Weinstein, declined to comment on the report. Weinstein, 66, has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.
The New York Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney's office declined to confirm the news reports.
Weinstein is expected to put up $1 million in cash for bail and wear a monitoring device, according to the Times.
The charges would be the first against him since some 70 women started bringing allegations against Weinstein — allegations which gave rise to the #MeToo movement in which hundreds of women have publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment.
Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, didn't report the incident to police at the time, telling the New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that she blamed herself for not fighting back.
"It was always my fault for not stopping him," she said.
Entertainment industry heavyweights have distanced themselves from Weinstein, once one of Hollywood's most powerful men, since the accusations became public. The board of the Weinstein Co. fired him, the company itself filed for bankruptcy in March and he was expelled in 2017 from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Actor Ashley Judd last month sued Weinstein, saying that he cost her a part in the Lord of the Rings movies after she rejected his sexual advances, charges that Weinstein has denied.
I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere.— Rose McGowan
He also faces a lawsuit in Ontario, where an actress, who has been granted anonymity by the court, alleges Weinstein sexually assaulted her while she was working on a movie in Toronto some two decades ago.
Other prominent actors who have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct include Rose McGowan, Uma Thurman and Salma Hayek.
McGowan said she was "in shock" at the news that Weinstein would face charges.
"I still have very guarded hopes. The justice system has been something very elusive. And I hope in this case it works. Because it's all true. None of this was consensual." she said. "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us. It shows that it can be done."
A former fixture in the most elite entertainment circles of Manhattan and Los Angeles, Weinstein has since been spending time in Scottsdale, Ariz., where the New York Times said he had been seeking treatment for sex addiction.
London's Metropolitan Police have said they are also investigating an allegation of sexual assault against Weinstein, while prosecutors in Los Angeles said in February they were reviewing three accusations of sexual assault against him. Weinstein's lawyer Brafman said in a May court filing that federal prosecutors in New York had opened a separate criminal investigation into the allegations.
Brafman is known for representing high-profile criminal defendants, including pop star Michael Jackson and Martin Shkreli, the former drug company executive. In 2011, Brafman represented Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, over charges, which were eventually dropped, that he sexually assaulted a New York City hotel maid.
The statute of limitations for rape in New York was eliminated in 2006, but not for attacks that happened prior to 2001.
With files from CBC News and The Associated Press