According to The Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors have launched an investigation into the sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein, including whether or not he ever “lured or induced any women to travel across state lines for the purpose of committing a sex crime.” If the investigators determine that he did, Weinstein could be charged at the federal level. Also, this is on top of the ongoing investigations by local authorities in New York and Los Angeles, which were launched in the wake of the many, many, many misconduct allegations that have been brought against Weinstein in the last year.
The WSJ story explains that the federal investigators were already looking into possible fraud charges against Weinstein for “financial transactions” that he put together for a charity auction, but “people familiar with the matter” say the scope of the investigation has been expanded to include “possible sex crimes” in the last few months. Sex crimes are usually only investigated at the federal level when they involve children or sex-trafficking, which is why the feds are interested in whether or not Weinstein lured any women across state lines.
Whatever the plan is, it will reportedly be very difficult to charge Weinstein with a federal sex crime as there’s a “high bar” for proof in cases like this. Also, while WSJ sources in the NYPD believe that they have enough evidence to arrest Weinstein, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office hasn’t given the “green light” due to concerns about whether that evidence will hold up in court.
Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has been meeting with federal prosecutors to try and “dissuade them from proceeding,” and he says that Weinstein continues to deny all of the allegations.