Harvey Weinstein is now being investigated for wire fraud and other potential legal violations by federal prosecutors.
The investigation hopes to determine whether Weinstein broke any laws in an effort to silence the women who accused him of sexual misconduct, reports The Wall Street Journal. Based on the investigation's findings, Weinstein could face federal charges in addition to the state charges of sexual assault on which he was arrested in May.
In particular, prosecutors are looking into Weinstein's relationship with Black Cube, an Israeli investigative firm, which reportedly worked undercover on Weinstein's behalf to gather information about his accusers. They are investigating "alleged efforts by Mr. Weinstein to intimidate women and cover up the accusations against him using hush money," an unnamed source told WSJ.
Weinstein's lawyer Benjamin Brafman denied the allegations. He told Deadline that Black Cube's work was supervised by lawyers "who would never have authorized illegal activity of any kind," adding that Weinstein hired Black Cube "to effectively defend himself through legal action from serious and patently false allegations."
Weinstein was arrested on state charges of rape and felony sexual assault in May. He pleaded not guilty and was released from jail on $1 million bail. WSJ suggests that the federal investigation could serve as a 'backstop' to the state case, should they not convict him.