Weinstein might face criminal charges

NEW YORK• A former employee of Harvey Weinstein accused him in a lawsuit on Tuesday of sexually and physically assaulting her for years and threatening to ruin her career if she denied his sexual advances or told anyone about them.

In the lawsuit filed in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan, Ms Alexandra Canosa, a producer on the Netflix show Marco Polo, said Weinstein insisted on meeting her in "isolated environments for business purposes", including in hotel rooms in Hungary and Malaysia.

She said he repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her between 2010 and 2014, often in hotel rooms in New York and Los Angeles.

She said he continued to threaten her to stay silent until September, a few weeks before The New York Times and The New Yorker published stories about years of sexual misconduct and assault allegations against Weinstein.

Three of the incidents took place at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in Manhattan in 2010 and 2012, making them of interest to prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney's office who have been investigating other sexual assault allegations against Weinstein.

Some of the complaints against him reported to the New York authorities happened too long ago to be prosecuted, law enforcement officials have said.

The incidents mentioned in Ms Canosa's lawsuit might qualify as more serious sex crimes that have no statutes of limitation, because she contends he physically forced her to comply with his demands.

District attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr declined to say on Wednesday if his office had interviewed Ms Canosa.

One of her laywers, Mr Jeremy Hellman, also would not say if Manhattan prosecutors had talked to his client.

Actress Ashley Judd sued Weinstein on Monday over claims that he harmed her career after she rejected his sexual requests.

Ms Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Weinstein, said Ms Canosa worked on and off for The Weinstein Co for a decade, but was not a full-time executive.

"From someone who has been thought of as a good friend, involved only in a consensual relationship, these claims are not only mystifying to Mr Weinstein, but deeply upsetting, and they cannot be supported by the facts," Ms Kupferstein said.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 04, 2018, with the headline 'Weinstein might face criminal charges'. Print Edition | Subscribe