How (and Where) Harvey Weinstein Might Go to Jail

Harvey Weinstein - Getty - H 2017
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Though dozens of women have come forward with allegations of rape, assault and harassment at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, whether he will face jail time will be determined in part by the statute of limitations where the alleged crimes were committed. Many of the cases likely will go unprosecuted for having been reported too late, which French authorities seem to believe is the case for incidents at the Cannes Film Festival. That leaves L.A., Sundance home Park City, London and NYC, and the latter is considered by experts as the jurisdiction most likely to file charges.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is facing criticism for choosing not to seek indictment after the producer was caught on tape admitting to groping model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez in 2015, and actress Paz de la Huerta says Weinstein raped her twice in 2010 in her apartment. "Given that district attorneys are elected, as a general matter they can be more susceptible to political pressure," says federal prosecutor turned entertainment litigator Mathew Rosengart. Weinstein's lawyers — Hollywood go-to defense attorney Blair Berk and Manhattan attorney Benjamin Brafman, whose résumé includes a dismissal of sexual assault charges against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn — insist an indictment isn't imminent.

But here's where it could happen.


California eliminated the statute of limitations on rape this year, but that generally applies only to crimes committed after Jan. 1, 2017. Before that, it was 10 years, and there are several women whose accounts may fall within that window — including actress Dominique Huett, who has filed a civil suit. The Beverly Hills Police Department and LAPD are actively investigating complaints, and on Nov. 9, L.A. District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced a special task force of veteran sex-crime prosecutors to evaluate entertainment-industry cases referred to her office.


Even though Rose McGowan's allegation that Weinstein raped her dates to 1997, because of Utah's complicated statute of limitations, she still could file a police report. In a nutshell, the hourglass empties only while the offender is in the state (and the statute was eliminated entirely in 2008). Because Weinstein spent only a few weeks a year in Utah for the Sundance Film Festival, the actress' claim still would be viable. McGowan hasn't said whether she intends to pursue a criminal case, but it seems she has as much time as she needs to decide.


Though its official policy prohibits naming a suspect until charges are filed, Scotland Yard is believed to be conducting an investigation — dubbed Operation Kaguyak — into allegations against Weinstein by eight women going back to the 1980s. (While Norwegian model-actress Natassia Malthe has publicly accused Weinstein of rape, she has not confirmed that she reported the incident to police.)


Police and prosecutors here have been the most vocal about their investigation. On Nov. 3, NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said his department has "an actual case" against the producer and described Paz de la Huerta's account of two 2010 rapes as "credible." They need a court order to arrest an out-of-state suspect — Weinstein traveled to Phoenix for rehab in October — so investigators are gathering evidence. "If this person was still in New York and it was recent, we would go and make the arrest."

This story first appeared in the Nov. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.