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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.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

7 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.