The FBI have launched an official investigation into sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, following orders from the DOJ.
The Department of Justice instructed the bureau to investigate mounting allegations that the Hollywood producer is a prolific sexual abuser.
The Daily Mail reports: While it is unknown whether the DOJ order came directly from Sessions, the move is likely to be seen in a political light given Weinstein’s friendship with Trump foe Hillary Clinton.
The move by the DOJ came amid rumors that Weinstein plans to head to Europe for sex rehab – leading to fears of a Roman Polanski-style situation where he dodges prosecution in the U.S.
The FBI can both look at whether he has committed any federal crimes in the U.S. and prepare extradition proceedings if he remains in Europe.
Among the allegations against Weinstein, which the FBI is expected to examine, is that he forced Lucia Evans, a student who wanted to be an actress, to perform oral sex on him in New York in 2004.
New York State has no statue of limitations on rape and criminal sexual acts – its legal term for forced oral or anal intercourse.
Hollywood powerhouse Weinstein has traveled the globe promoting his movies and the belief is that he could have committed sex crimes in several countries.
So far five accusers have given accounts of attacks in France, while allegations of attacks in London have also surfaced – any of which could lead to charges there.
The FBI has field offices in both countries and could assist prosecutors there with their cases.
A spokesperson for the FBI in New York said: ‘We do not confirm or deny the existence of ongoing investigations.’
Although it is not yet known if Sessions gave the direct order or if Trump requested the investigation, Trump said he wasn’t surprised by the sexual harassment and assault claims made against Weinstein.
Trump said shortly after news of the shock report on Thursday: ‘I’ve known him for years. I’m not surprised.’
Weinstein was a big donor for Hillary Clinton, who finally denounced her longtime friend in a statement on Tuesday but was silent on the crucial issue of the vast amount of cash Weinstein donated directly to her and her family.
The move by the DOJ comes as it emerged the movie mogul has taken on top criminal defense lawyers Blair Berk and David Chesnoff.
The pair will join his expanding legal team following an article in the New Yorker, which alleged three women were sexually assaulted by him.
Up to 30 women have now come forward to make allegations of sexual misconduct.
Berk has represented A-listers like, Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, Britney Spears, Kiefer Sutherland, and Lindsay Lohan, while Chesnoff’s clients have included Vince Neil, Bruno Mars, Paris Hilton, Leonardo DiCaprio and the family of Michael Jackson.
The movie producer is said to have plans to jet to Europe and to go to a sex rehab clinic – although he was still in Los Angeles on Wednesday, The Blast reported, and TMZ reported they heard word of a suicidal threat call for him that morning.
Sources close to the case have told DailyMail.com they fear the movie mogul might be pulling a Roman Polanski.
Weinstein’s sudden departure is reminiscent of Hollywood icon Polanski who was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl. The director was arrested and charged in 1977 in Los Angeles with five offenses — rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
He was able to work out a deal in which he’d plead guilty to ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ in exchange for prosecutors dismissing the five charges, but when he learned he would likely go to prison, Polanski fled to England.
Polanski has never returned to the US and has lived in Europe, splitting his time between France and Poland, ever since.
Although there are significant legal differences, the potential for a lengthy extradition case is likely to be one the FBI would be keen to quickly close down.
There are roughly 70 countries that don’t have any form of an extradition treaty with the United States, according to WLOX.
These include Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Serbia and the Ukraine, which are all in Eastern Europe, and the tiny Andorra.
Despite having extradition treaties with the United States, some countries, including Bolivia, Iceland and Switzerland, have been known to refuse requests.
RJ Cipriani, AKA Robin Hood 702, a professional gambler/philanthropist and known FBI source, claims to have knowledge of the Weinstein case.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘My connections and sources within the law enforcement community have told me they’re looking to bring a case against Harvey Weinstein for rape and various other charges.
‘That’s why they believe Weinstein left to go to Europe to rehab. He is trying to protect himself in case charges are filed and do the same thing Roman Polanski did to escape justice.
He continued: ‘We must stop these sex predators from crossing any border to allow them to escape justice.’
Cipriani says he also reached out to one of the lawyers representing Weinstein, Patricia ‘Patty’ Glaser.
He says Glaser, a leading LA lawyer, is his close friend and his attorney and he was appalled to learn in the media she was representing Weinstein.
He said: ‘Patty and I spoke by phone after I heard she was working for Weinstein.
‘Patty is a dear friend and I expressed my complete shock and displeasure of what I heard.
‘Although she wouldn’t confirm or deny anything, I tried and tried to dissuade her from taking his case and even went as far as to offer her $1million not to take it.
‘I believe, although I cannot confirm, I might have changed her mind in terms of her going after the girls involved in this. From what I’m hearing she is only representing him in the matter against The Weinstein Company.’
He added: ‘My hope is that Patty took my comments on board and has seen the light, she’s a very dear friend and I don’t want to hurt her in any way, but she’s representing a scumbag sex predator.’
According to the Hollywood Reporter Glaser won’t be representing Weinstein in connection with harassment claims or against media outlets.
Instead, her task is to negotiate with The Weinstein Co., which on Sunday night fired Weinstein after a unanimous vote by the board of directors.
‘We hope to work it out,’ Glaser told the magazine. ‘However, we will do whatever we have to do to properly protect his rights vis a vis the company.’
Glaser, a named partner at Glaser Weil, has handled many high-profile employment disputes, including representing Keith Olbermann against Al Gore’s former Current TV and Conan O’Brien against NBC.
Most recently, she also picked up Jamie Horowitz as a client after the former Fox Sports programming head was let go amid an internal investigation about sexual harassment claims.