Harvey Weinstein Hired Israeli Intelligence Company to Silence His Victims
NEW YORK — September 10, 1018
The US Attorney’s Office in New York is looking into Harvey Weinstein‘s relationship with the private spy firm Black Cube to determine whether the Hollywood producer broke federal law in any efforts to silence women who accused him of sexual misconduct.
Part of the federal probe includes examining Mr. Weinstein’s relationship with Israeli investigative firm Black Cube, people familiar with the matter said.
Weinstein’s attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement on Thursday that his office had met with prosecutors in an effort to convince them that the arrangement was honest. Brafman added that Weinstein was compelled to defend himself given the 'reckless disregard for the truth' displayed by some of his accusers, citing an example the case with Asia Argento.
Argento’s claims have come into doubt after former child actor Jimmy Bennett charged the Italian actress with sexually assaulted him while he was a minor. He told prosecutors that he had filed a police report against her which he was going to use in court. Argento had originally denied reports that she ever had 'any sexual relationship' with her underage former costar but later texts leaked showing Argento admitting to having a physical relationship with the boy.
It is too early to draw conclusion about Weinstein, and the US Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the investigation.
"We met with the SDNY to demonstrate that Black Cube was retained and supervised by prominent lawyers both in New York and in L.A., who we believed would never have authorized illegal activity of any kind," Brafman said in a statement. "Furthermore, we also made clear that the sole objective was to enable Mr. Weinstein to effectively defend himself through legal action from serious and patently false allegations. If anything, recent developments have demonstrated the reckless disregard for the truth by certain of the key figures, whose accusations fueled the Weinstein investigation."
According to the report, prosecutors are exploring whether the arrangement with Black Cube violated a federal law against wire fraud.
Weinstein is facing six state charges in New York, including rape and criminal sexual acts. No trial date has been set yet. He is also facing criminal investigations in Los Angeles and London.
The New Yorker reported last November that Weinstein hired Black Cube, which was founded by former Israeli spies, to gather information on actress Rose McGowan and others who were privately making allegations against him. The story also implicated Weinstein’s attorney David Boies, known for Bush v. Gore and aggressive battles in the business sphere. He told the magazine that it was a 'mistake' that Weinstein was involved in the spy operation.
After being accused by numerous women of sexually harassment or assault, Weinstein began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations. According to dozens of pages of documents, and seven people directly involved in the effort, the firms that Weinstein hired included Kroll, which is one of the world’s largest corporate-intelligence companies, and Black Cube, an enterprise run largely by former officers of Mossad and other Israeli intelligence agencies. Black Cube, which has branches in Tel Aviv, London, and Paris, offers its clients the skills of operatives 'highly experienced and trained in Israel’s elite military and governmental intelligence units,' according to its literature.