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LA prosecutors consider charges against Harvey Weinstein in Beverly Hills sex crimes cases

LOS ANGELES — In a significant expansion into the criminal investigations of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said it was reviewing two sex crimes cases presented to prosecutors by Beverly Hills police detectives.

More than 80 women — some of them prominent actresses — have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misdeeds spanning four decades. This marks the first time prosecutors in Los Angeles County have taken up cases against him. They will ultimately decide whether to charge Weinstein with a crime.

Beverly Hills police detectives presented evidence from their investigations to the special district attorney’s office task force reviewing the evidence, said Greg Risling, a spokesman for the office. Risling said the office would not detail the allegations made against Weinstein in those probes or say when the alleged incidents occurred.

Beverly Hills authorities said last month they had a dozen investigations ongoing into celebrities accused of sexual assault, battery or other related crimes, including one concerning Weinstein. Beverly Hills Police Lt. Elizabeth Albanese confirmed the delivery of the investigations to prosecutors but said the department won’t make the details public at this point.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that Beverly Hills police have not interviewed Weinstein or attempted to contact him or his attorneys about the accusations in the two investigations.

Prosecutors also said they are reviewing five investigations into director James Toback. Beverly Hills police handled three of those cases and the Los Angeles police the other two. Toback, like Weinstein, has been accused of sexual misconduct by dozens of women.

Since a New York Times article Oct. 5 first revealed allegations against Weinstein, accusations and condemnations have engulfed him. The mogul was fired from the company he co-founded and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other groups. At least 17 other criminal investigations have been initiated in Los Angeles, London and New York into Weinstein’s alleged actions.

The statute of limitations, however, may restrict prosecutors’ ability to charge Weinstein. Many of the accusations are too old to prosecute.

Weinstein has repeatedly denied through his attorneys any criminal behavior.

“Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted with an untrue claim of criminal conduct. There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred,” attorneys Blair Berk and Ben Brafman said in a statement. “Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”

Actresses Asia Argento, Rose McGowan, Lucia Evans and Lysette Anthony have all publicly stated that they were raped or forced to perform a sex act by Weinstein.

In Los Angeles, police are investigating an Italian model-actress’ accusations of being forced by Weinstein to have sex with him in her hotel room in 2013.

The Los Angeles Police Department is also examining a more recent lewd conduct accusation against the producer, but that allegation is also probably too old to prosecute.

New York police are investigating at least four accusations against Weinstein. “Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de la Huerta has told New York police that Weinstein raped her in 2010.

De la Huerta, who has gone public with her allegations, filed a complaint with the New York Police Department on Oct. 25.

That department’s chief of detectives has said de la Huerta’s accusations are credible and partly corroborated but that the investigation was ongoing.

British police are investigating at least 11 allegations of sexual assaults by seven women against Weinstein.

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©2018 Los Angeles Times

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