May 23, 2018

Prosecutors launch sex-crimes investigation into Harvey Weinstein

Producer Harvey Weinstein. Photo: Gary Gershoff/WireImage

New York federal prosecutors have started a criminal probe into sex-abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein over whether the veteran Hollywood producer had lured or persuaded women to travel across state lines for the purpose of carrying out a sex crime, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The publication reports that local prosecutors haven’t brought any criminal charges against Weinstein since the start of the #MeToo movement, and that federal prosecutors are infuriated. Individual sexual assault allegations are typically handled by local authorities, experts told the WSJ.

The details: Authorities in New York City and Los Angeles launched probes into Weinstein following a slew of sexual-harassment accusations from women in October. Both are still pending.

  • The WSJ said it's unclear what specific allegations federal prosecutors are reviewing, and that the probe is unrelated and independent from an inquiry by the Manhattan District Attorney — who was lambasted for not prosecuting Weinstein even though a woman had provided police with a recording in which Weinstein admits to groping her breasts.

What they’re saying: Weinstein’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, told the WSJ that he has met with federal prosecutors to “dissuade” them from proceeding. “Mr. Weinstein has always maintained that he has never engaged in nonconsensual sexual acts,” Brafman said.

What to watch: NYPD officials said the agency is prepared to arrest Weinstein and is awaiting permission from the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

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Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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California's "woman quota" law seems to be working

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

When California passed its boardroom law requiring public companies based there to have at least one female director, there were concerns it would spark a gold rush for the same handful of well-known women — but that hasn’t happened.

Why it matters: Of the 138 women who joined all-male California boards last year, 62% are serving on their first company board, per a study by accounting firm KPMG. That means a majority of companies aren't contributing to so-called overboarding in corporate America.