Weinstein to 'surrender' to NY authorities Friday: US media

New York (AFP) –


Disgraced ex-Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities in New York on Friday following a months-long investigation into allegations of sexual assault, US media reported.

The New York Times said Weinstein was expected to surrender on Friday morning, citing unnamed law enforcement officials. Weinstein's defense attorney, contacted by AFP, declined to comment Thursday.

The reports surfaced with the Manhattan District Attorney's office and New York police department have been investigating Weinstein for months.

Weinstein was facing charges in connection to at least one accuser, former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who reported that the fallen power broker forced her into oral sex in 2004, the New York Daily News reported.

Neither the district attorney's office nor the New York police department immediately responded to an AFP request to comment.

New York police have in the past confirmed an active Weinstein investigation regarding Evans.

Weinstein's career went down in flames last October over sexual abuse allegations following bombshell articles in The New York Times and New Yorker magazine, which sparked a sexual harassment watershed across the United States.

More than 100 women have since accused the 66-year-old of impropriety going back 40 years and ranging from sexual harassment to assault and rape.

The twice-married father of five has been investigated by British and US police, but has not yet been charged with any crime. He denies having non-consensual sex and has reportedly been in treatment for sex addiction.

Weinstein has been hit by a litany of civil lawsuits and The Weinstein Company who sacked him has since filed for bankruptcy.

His wife left him shortly after the allegations surfaced seven months ago and police opened criminal investigations in London, Los Angeles and New York.

The reports came Thursday with US authorities under intense pressure to bring the onetime Hollywood heavyweight to justice.

The Manhattan prosecutor has been criticized for failing to bring a criminal case against him three years ago.

Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez went to New York police, accusing Weinstein of groping and harassing her in 2015, but the district attorney ultimately decided that evidence was insufficient to prosecute.

Acting on demand from the Time's Up movement led by top Hollywood actresses, New York authorities in March vowed to "review" that decision.

Weinstein hired Ben Brafman, one of America's most celebrated criminal defense lawyers, last November, just days after New York police confirmed they were gathering evidence for a possible arrest warrant.

At the time, New York police said they had a credible rape allegation against Weinstein after "Boardwalk Empire" actress Paz de la Huerta accused him of raping her twice at her New York apartment in late 2010.

Brafman's past clients include former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who ultimately escaped criminal prosecution for alleged sexual assault in 2011.