UPDATE: In response to an inquiry about the Manhattan D.A.'s investigation into Harvey Weinstein, Danny Frost, a spokesperson for D.A. Cy Vance, tells Gothamist, "Our investigation is in an advanced stage.”
Federal prosecutors are looking into sexual assault allegations against disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and NYPD officers are ready to make an arrest, the Wall Street Journal reports
Sources tell the Journal that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York is looking into whether or not Weinstein enticed any woman to travel over state lines with the goal of sexually assaulting them—an offense that can be prosecuted as a federal crime.
Despite accusations of sexual harassment or assault from more than 80 woman, the powerful movie producer remains free. After the initial accusations surfaced, Weinstein entered an inpatient sex rehab facility in Arizona, but reportedly did not complete the treatment.
Local prosecutors have not brought charges against Weinstein, and even allegedly quashed a 2015 case against him, despite having audio in which he seemingly admitted to groping a woman. The Manhattan district attorney's office is currently under investigation by the state for their handling of that allegation. After declining to pursue the case, Vance's office received a $10,000 campaign donation from Weinstein's lawyer.
Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman-Agnifilo for Vance’s office said last year, “If we could have prosecuted Harvey Weinstein for the conduct that occurred in 2015, we would have. Mr. Weinstein’s pattern of mistreating women, as recounted in recent reports, is disgraceful and shocks the conscience."
A different Weinstein attorney, Benjamin Brafman, told the Wall Street Journal that he has met with prosecutors “in an attempt to dissuade them from proceeding.”
“Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts,” the attorney added.
Sources also told the paper that scope of the investigation—which initially focused on Weinstein's sketchy finances—has broadened in recent months to include possible federal sex crimes. The paper notes that federal sex crime charges are typically reserved for sex-trafficking and child-exploitation cases, and investigations are rarely opened into past individual behavior.
Meanwhile, the Manhattan D.A.'s probe into Weinstein, reopened after the bombshell Times story last year, is ongoing. The NYPD has said for months that they are ready to make an arrest, and are waiting for the go-ahead from Vance.