Federal prosecutors probing whether Weinstein committed wire fraud: report

Federal prosecutors probing whether Weinstein committed wire fraud: report
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Federal prosecutors are investigating whether disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein violated wire fraud or other federal laws in his alleged attempts to silence women who accused him of sexual misconduct.

Part of the investigation is probing Weinstein's relationship with Black Cube, an Israeli investigative firm, which reportedly worked on his behalf to gather information on his accusers, according to The Wall Street Journal

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The federal investigation, The Journal reported, has been ongoing in recent weeks as federal prosecutors in Manhattan probe alleged actions by Weinstein to intimidate his accusers and silence their allegations through hush money payments.

Weinstein was arrested in May on state charges of rape and committing a criminal sexual act. He has pleaded not guilty and is out of jail on a $1 million bail.

Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s lawyer, told The Journal that he met with Manhattan federal prosecutors to “demonstrate that Black Cube was retained and supervised by prominent lawyers,” who Weinstein “believed would never have authorized illegal activity of any kind.”

Brafman added that Weinstein enlisted Black Cube’s services to “defend himself through legal action from serious and patently false allegations,” according to The Journal.

Black Cube could not be reached for comment by The Journal. The law firm representing Weinstein at the time of his July 2017 contract with Black Cube, Boies Schiller, declined to comment to the paper. 

Media reports first emerged in 2017, detailing accusations against Weinstein that dated back decades. The revelations from Weinstein's dozens of accusers are credited with catalyzing the "Me Too" and "Times Up" movements, which seek to battle sexual assault, harassment and sexism in the workplace.