It appears that Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the subject of dozens of sexual harassment and sexual assault accusations, will finally get his day in court—and maybe a night in jail.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance plans to present an indictment of Weinstein to a grand jury, possibly sometime next week.
“We’ll move as fast as we can to resolve the outstanding issues,” Vance told NBC-New York.
The announcement comes a month after media started reporting on numerous accusations leveled at the powerful producer over the years by actresses and models for his sexually predatory behavior.
Weinstein, through his lawyers, continues to deny all accusations of nonconsensual sexual behavior, despite publishing a confessional apology in the New York Times on Oct. 5 in which he admitted he had caused his co-workers pain and blamed his behavior on entering the business at a time when all the rules about behavior in the workplace were different.
Weinstein is being investigated by police departments in London, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and New York. In addition, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has opened a civil rights inquiry of the Weinstein Company.
NYPD Prepared to Move on Rape Allegations
While DA Vance prepares his grand jury indictment, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce has approached the DA’s office seeking an arrest warrant for Weinstein based on a 7-year-old rape accusation.
Boyce said at a press conference on Nov. 3 that his department had a “credible and detailed” rape allegation against Weinstein.
“The ability to articulate each and every movement of the crime: where she was, where they met, where this happened, and what he did,” made her allegations credible, Boyce told CBS-New York.
The complaint was made in 2010 by actress Paz de la Huerta, who claimed Weinstein raped her in her own apartment on two occasions.
“I was so terrified of him,” the actress told Vanity Fair magazine. “I did say no, and when he was on top of me I said, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”
Boyce said portions of her account had already been corroborated, and the specificity of detail made the claims believable.
“We have an actual case here,” Boyce told the media.
Boyce also said that if Weinstein were in New York now and the assault allegation were recent, “we’d go right away and make the arrest. No doubt.”
However, since the case was seven years old and Weinstein was holed up in an Arizona sexual-addiction treatment center, the NYPD would gather more evidence to support its request for an arrest warrant.
Sting Operation Leads to Inter-Office Friction
The New York Police Department and the New York District Attorney’s office don’t always cooperate well. In this case, DA Vance wants to go to the grand jury and wait for an indictment, while the NYPD wants the DA’s office to swear out an arrest warrant immediately.
The friction stems from a case involving Weinstein from 2015. Ambra Battilana, a 22-year-old model from Italy was in New York at the red-carpet premiere of Weinstein’s Radio City “New York Spring Spectacular.”
The model accused the mogul of grabbing and groping her on Nov. 3, 2015, during a meeting at the Tribeca Film Center in Manhattan.
Battilana went to the police and reported the assault. In response, the police sent Battilana to Weinstein’s apartment wearing a recording device.
On the tape recording, Weinstein—at that time, 65 years old, married, and with five Children—can be heard trying to convince the model to enter his apartment. A Fox News report from Oct. 10, 2017, contains portions, of the 2015 police sting recording.
On the tape, Battilana can be heard asking Weinstein why he touched her sexually, and Weinstein responds, “Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in. I’m, used to that. Come on, please.”
The DA’s office declined to prosecute Weinstein despite what seemed like an open admission of sexual assault.
The NYPD’s choice to go public with its desire for an arrest warrant might have been an attempt to pressure the District Attorney’s office to take action this time.
A History of Creativity and Deviance
Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, formed Miramax film studios in 1979 and were wildly successful. They sold the company to Disney for some $80 million just over a decade later.
The pair then created The Weinstein Company, which produced movies that have collectively won dozens of Academy Awards and hundreds of Oscar nominations.
However, it appears Weinstein had a dark side. According to victims’ complaints, while he was setting up The Weinstein Company he was also using his influence to take advantage of actresses and models hoping to work for the prestigious producer.
In 2009, Weinstein spoke out publicly in defense of director Roman Polanski, who was facing a U.S. extradition effort for a 1977 sex crime. Polanski was accused of unlawful sexual intercourse with 13-year-old Samantha Gailey. The Polish director pleaded guilty to drugging and raping the girl and was sentenced to 90 days of counseling.
Polanski was released after 42 days, but fled the country because the plea deal was coming under heavy criticism and looked like it could be overturned.
Weinstein wrote an op-ed piece for the Independent UK, saying, “Roman Polanski is a man who cares deeply about his art and its place in this world. What happened to him on his incredible path is filled with tragedy, and most men would have collapsed.”
The tone of the article—sympathizing with an admitted child rapist—might have seemed odd, until now.
The article continues, “Whatever you think about the so-called crime, Polanski has served his time. A deal was made with the judge, and the deal is not being honoured.”
— Alex Griswold (@HashtagGriswold) October 5, 2017
Alan Griswold, a reporter for The Washington Free Beacon, tweeted on Oct. 5, 2017, “Well, this op-ed makes more sense now.”