The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein.
The decision came at the behest of the Department of Justice, run by Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which instructed the bureau to investigate the mounting allegations leveled at the movie mogul.
While it is unknown whether the Justice Department order came directly from Jeff Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
- The FBI has opened an investigation into Harvey Weinstein for alleged sex crimes, DailyMail.com has exclusively learned on Wednesday
- Three women, including Actress Asia Argento and Lucia Evans, have come forward and claimed the producer forced himself on them sexually
- The DOJ’s order is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with President Trump’s defeated rival Hillary Clinton
- Weinstein donated heavily to Clinton and although she said she was shocked and dismayed by his actions, she hasn’t returned any of his contributions
- The 65-year-old is said to be planning to depart for Europe in order to receive professional treatment and go to sex therapy in wake of the scandal
- His hasty international departure sparks fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation, where he dodges prosecution in the U.S
- Polanski has managed to avoid US officials since he plead guilty to having sex with a 13-year-old in 1978
The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.
The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.
Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.
New York State has no statute of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts – its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.
Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.
So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced – any of which could lead to charges there.
The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: ‘We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.’
Although it is not yet known if Sessions gave the direct order or if Trump requested the investigation, Trump said he wasn’t surprised by the sexual harassment and assault claims made against Weinstein.
Trump said shortly after news of the shock report on Thursday: ‘I’ve known him for years. I’m not surprised.’
Weinstein was a big donor for Hillary Clinton, who finally denounced her longtime friend in a statement on Tuesday but was silent on the crucial issue of the vast amount of cash Weinstein donated directly to her and her family.
The move by the DOJ comes as it emerged the movie mogul has taken on top criminal defense lawyers Blair Berk and David Chesnoff.
The pair will join his expanding legal team following an article in the New Yorker, which alleged three women were sexually assaulted by him.
Up to 30 women have now come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct.
Berk has represented A-listers like, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lindsay Lohan, while Chesnoff’s clients have included Vince Neil, Bruno Mars, Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio and the family of Michael Jackson.
The report came on the heels of the release of explosive audio, part of a 10-month investigation by journalist Ronan Farrow, from a 2015 New York Police Department sting operation into Weinstein. The disgraced movie mogul is reportedly heard in the audio admitting to groping model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez as he pressures her to enter his hotel room.
Farrow’s report also includes new accounts from three women who allege that Weinstein forced them to perform or receive oral sex and forced vaginal sex.
Last week, a New York Times exposé alleged that Weinstein committed decades of sexual harassment and reached financial settlements with at least eight different women.
HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S ACCUSERS
Cara Delevingne: The model turned actress said Weinstein tried to get her to engage in a threesome with him and another woman in a New York City hotel room
Gwyneth Paltrow: The star told the New York Times that Weinstein touched her and suggested having joint massages in the bedroom before she started shooting the 1996 film Emma. She said she told her then boyfriend Brad Pitt about the incident and he confronted the mogul.
Angelina Jolie: Jolie told the Times she had to turn down advances from Weinstein in 1998 and chose never to work with him again. She said she warned other women about him.
Louisette Geiss: Actress was called to a late night meeting with Weinstein in 2008. He allegedly emerged in a bathrobe and told her he would green light her script if she watched him masterbate. She left the meeting.
Judith Godreche: The French actress says Weinstein tried to massage her and pull off her sweater after asking her up to his Cannes suite to see the view in 1996.
Dawn Dunning: Aspiring actress says she was called to a meeting about future film projects in 2003. When she arrived Weinstein presented her with three scripts for his next three movies which he would let her star in, only if she had three-way sex with him. She fled the hotel.
Tomi-Ann Roberts: Weinstein met her when she was serving tables as a college junior in 1984 and told her to meet him at his home. When she arrived, she says, he was naked in the bath and told her she would give a better audition if she was nude. She says she refused and left.
Asia Argento: The Italian actress has accused Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her when she was 21. ‘He terrified me, and he was big. It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.’ She said she went on to have consensual sex with him over the years that followed. She documented the alleged attack in her 2000 film Scarlet Diva.
Katherine Kendall: The Swingers actress was told Weinstein had to stop off in his apartment to pick something up after a screening in 1993. He changed into a bathrobe and told her to massage her. When she resisted she said the mogul returned naked and chased her.
Lucia Evans: The actress, formerly known as Lucia Stoller, claims Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him in 2004. Speaking to the New Yorker, she said that she suffered years of trauma after the incident which occurred in a ‘casting meeting’ in a Miramax office in Manhattan. He reportedly called her late at night after the incident.
Mira Sorvino: The Mighty Aphrodite actress told the New Yorker that Weinstein tried to massage her in a hotel room at the 1995 Toronto International Film Festival. He then went to her home in the middle of the night but she called a male friend to protect her, she claimed. She said turning down the mogul adversely affected her career.
Rosanna Arquette: The actress also said her career suffered after she rebuffed Weinstein’s advances in the early 1990s. At a hotel meeting he tried to put her hand on his erect penis, she claims.
Rose McGowan: The actress, who made her breakthrough in 1996 in the Weinstein-produced slasher revival movie Scream, reportedly sued Weinstein after he assaulted her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival. She signed a non-disclosure agreement at the close of the suit and has only referred to him obliquely in social media since. On Sunday she referred to being abused by a ‘monster’ and has previously referred to being raped by a studio head.
Ashley Judd: Judd’s film roles include the 1997 thriller Kiss the Girls – and says that during the filming of that movie Weinstein repeatedly asked her to watch him shower. She was one of the women who spoke out to The New York Times this week, saying: ‘Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.’
Emma De Caunes: French actress Emma de Caunes said that she met Weinstein in 2010, soon after he told her he had a script he was producing based on a book with a strong female character. Weinstein offered to show her the script, and asked her up to his hotel room, where he began to take a shower. He then emerged naked and with an erection, asking her to lay down with him on the bed and telling her that many had done so before. ‘I was very petrified,’ said de Caunes. ‘But I didn’t want to show him that I was petrified, because I could feel that the more I was freaking out, the more he was excited.’
Zelda Perkins was 25 when, as an assistant of Weinstein’s in London, she reportedly confronted the mogul for harassing her and ‘several’ other women; she later settled out of court
Lauren O’Connor: A former employee of The Weinstein Company, she told executives there in the fall of 2015 that there was ‘a toxic environment for women at this company’ after one of her colleagues told her that Weinstein had pressured her into massaging him while he was naked, the NYT said.
Ambra Battilana: An Italian actress and model, she told the NYT that in March 2015 Weinstein invited her to his New York office. There, she said, he asked if her breasts were real before grabbing them and putting his hands up her skirt. She reported the alleged incident to police, but they did not press charges. According to the NYT, Weinstein later paid her off.
Jessica Barth: Weintein reportedly pressured Barth, an actress, to give him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel from 2011 onwards.
Laura Madden: An ex-employee, she told the NYT that Weinstein had asked her to give him massages from 1991 onwards, while they were both in London and Dublin. ‘It was so manipulative,’ she told the NYT. ‘You constantly question yourself – am I the one who is the problem?’ Weinstein denied knowledge.
Emily Nestor: Nestor was a temporary employee of the Weinstein Company for just one day in 2014 when Weinstein approached her and offered to boost her career in exchange for sex, the NYT reported.
Zelda Perkins: An assistant of Weinstein’s based in London in 1998; then 25, she reportedly confronted Weinstein after she and ‘several’ others were harassed and later settled out of court.
Elizabeth Karlsen, an Oscar-winning producer, said a female executive told her almost 30 years ago that she had found Weinstein naked in her bedroom in a Miramax-rented property
Elizabeth Karlsen: The Oscar-nominated producer of Carol and The Crying Game, among others, told The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday that almost 30 years ago, an unnamed young female executive who had worked at Miramax with Weinstein had found him naked in her bedroom one night. The exec was in a house rented by Miramax at the time to cut its overheads.
Liza Campbell: A freelance script reader, she told the UK’s Sunday Times that Weinstein had summoned her to his hotel room in London before telling her to get in the bath with him.
Lauren Sivan: The former Fox news host said that Weinstein trapped her in a closed restaurant and masturbated in front of her to completion in 2007. He took her to a closed restaurant beneath a club she had visited and attempted to kiss her, then when she refused he cornered her and made her watch him touch himself, according to The Huffington Post.
Jessica Hynes: The British actress, best known for her roles in the Bridget Jones movies and for co-creating and co-writing the sitcom Spaced, said she was invited to audition for Weinstein when she was 19 – in a bikini. Hynes, formerly known as Jessica Stevenson, said she refused to wear the skimpy item – and lost the job.
Romola Garai: British actress Romola Garai said she felt “violated” following a meeting with Harvey Weinstein in his London hotel room when she was 18 in which he was in a bathrobe. Garai, best known for her role in “Atonement”, said she had already been hired for a part but was told to audition privately with the Hollywood mogul because ‘you had to be personally approved by him’. “Like every other woman in the industry, I’ve had an ‘audition’ with Harvey Weinstein,” she told The Guardian. ‘So I had to go to his hotel room in the Savoy and he answered the door in his bathrobe. I was only 18. I felt violated by it’.
Unnamed assistant: Weinstein allegedly behaved inappropriately toward a woman employed as his assistant in 1990. The case was settled out of court.
Another unnamed assistant: In 2015, Weinstein reportedly pressured another assistant into giving him a naked massage in the Peninsula Hotel, where he is also said to have pressured Barth.
Unnamed Miramax employee: At one point in the early 1990s, a young woman is alleged to have suddenly left the company after an encounter with Weinstein. She also settled out of court.
Unnamed woman: A woman who did not wish to be named because she feared Weinstein’s connections told The New York Times that the producer had summoned her to his hotel at an unknown date and raped her.
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