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Trump administration orders 'FBI probe into Harvey Weinstein'

The Independent logo The Independent 4 days ago Mythili Sampathkumar

© Provided by Independent Print Limited The FBI has reportedly opened an investigation into the rape and criminal sexual acts allegations levied against Harvey Weinstein. 

The Trump administration, specifically Attorney General Jeff Sessions, allegedly asked the bureau to open the investigation over fears the Hollywood producer would remain in Europe after his rehabilitation and avoid prosecution like film director Roman Polanski, according to the Daily Mail.

Mr Weinstein's lawyers have denied all allegations and he has supposedly decided to travel to Arizona for his treatment rather than abroad.

The FBI could not immediately be reached for comment, however, the reason for a federal investigation is because Mr Weinstein has been accused of crimes in multiple states as well as possibly France and the UK where he travelled often for Miramax business.

Within its purview, the bureau could investigate whether Mr Weinstein has committed any federal crimes and, should Mr Weinstein travel abroad and stay, prepare for extradition.

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Mr Weinstein has been accused of forcing Lucia Evans, an acting student, to perform oral sex on him in 2004 in New York. The state has no statute of limitations on what it defines as "criminal sexual acts" or rape.

The New York Police Department has confirmed they have opened an investigation into the allegations against the Oscar-winning producer as well.

There are those who have framed the investigation in a political light given Mr Weinstein's close ties and frequent campaign contributions to the Democratic party and prominent members like Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren.

Ms Clinton issued a statement that said: "the behaviour described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behaviour."

He contributed on several occasions to both Ms Clinton's and husband President Bill Clinton's various campaigns from 1995 to 2016 according to the nonpartisan Center For Responsive Politics.

The Weinstein family has given more $1.4m (£1.07m) in political contributions since the 1992 election cycle and wielded influence among film elite, hosting several fundraisers for the Clintons and other notable Democratic candidates and the national party committee.

Democratic National Committee (DNC), the party's Senate and House campaign committees (DCCC), and prominent figures like Senators Chuck Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Kristen Gillibrand, and Al Franken among others have all said they will be donating Mr Weinstein's political contributions received by their campaigns to charities helping women.

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