Law-enforcement officials expect Weinstein to surrender
Also, Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities today to face charges involving at least one of the women who have accused him of sexual assault, two law-enforcement officials told The Associated Press.
It would be the first criminal case against Weinstein to come out of the barrage of sexual-abuse allegations from scores of women that destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning that brought down other powerful men in what has become known as the #MeToo movement.
The two officials said the criminal case involves allegations by then-aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who told a magazine that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex. She was among the first women to speak out about the 66-year-old film producer. It was unclear whether the case might involve other women who accused Weinstein of attacks.
The officials spoke Thursday to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.
A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for weeks, and the precise charges against Weinstein weren’t immediately known. Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment, though Weinstein has said repeatedly through his lawyers that he did not have nonconsensual sex with anyone.
Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting at his New York office in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College.
Meanwhile, Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized Thursday to anyone who may have felt “uncomfortable or disrespected” by his behavior, after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on movie sets and in other professional settings.
“Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy,” the actor, now 80, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press by his publicist, Stan Rosenfield. “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected – that was never my intent.”
The CNN report includes the account of a production assistant on the 2017 heist film “Going In Style,” who detailed an incident in which the actor repeatedly tried to lift up her skirt, and asked if she was wearing underwear. She alleged that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments on a near-daily basis on the film.
Several women alleged that he made frequent comments about their bodies, or would stare at them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. CNN spoke to 16 people about Freeman; eight said they had experienced harassment or inappropriate behavior, and eight said they had witnessed such conduct.