He never said the name “Harvey Weinstein,” but Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck certainly made it clear today that investigations into sexual assault claims against the much-accused producer and others are about to enter a new phase in early 2018.
“We may have some progress on the more high-profile ones in the new year,” the LAPD’s top cop said Wednesday during an interview on NPR radio. Beck reiterated his public remarks of last month that five teams of two special assignment detectives are investigating allegations such as those leveled against Weinstein. The chief said there are 30 such open sex crimes cases being investigated right now, including a new spotlight on child rapist Roman Polanski over a 1975 incident.
“These investigations are intent on presenting a thorough package to the D.A. with no cracks,” a LAPD insider told Deadline of the progress made since the department formally opened a probe against Weinstein on October 19.
Since the New York Times’ detailed October 5 story on decades of alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault by Weinstein and fine reporting by Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker, more than 80 women have come forward with claims against Weinstein.
While speaking to KPCC’s AirTalk host Larry Mantle today, Beck also outlined some of the machinations of potentially bringing the LAPD’s investigations to D.A. Jackie Lacey’s team for charges to be laid.
“We discuss cases prior to their presentation,” Beck told Mantle. “Almost all of these require an in-person interview with the victim and the prosecutors so the prosecutor can get some idea of the kind of witness they’re going to have,” he added.
#HappeningNow -LIVE on air with @LarryMantle on @AirTalk. We’re talking all things #LAPD including gang injunctions, how we working with @LADAOffice to investigate allegations of sexual assault. I’ll also be answering your questions live on-air until 11:00 AM 📻 pic.twitter.com/IegjZAzQaE
— Chief Charlie Beck (@LAPDChiefBeck) December 20, 2017
Currently, with the LAPD and the Beverly Hills Police Department investigating allegations against Weinstein (who is also being probed by the NYPD and UK police), no crimes have been referred for prosecution to the DA’s office by local law enforcement agencies, as my colleague David Robb pointed out on November 9. However, last month, Lacey put together a special task force to investigate the widespread allegations of sexual assault in the entertainment industry.
“It isn’t as if the investigation occurs in a vacuum and all of a sudden we throw some paper at the District Attorney and run away,” Beck told listeners today. “These are all done while we hold hands throughout the process.”
The question is how far the process will get next year.