The federal anti-racketeering law has been used since the late 1970s to bring down mob bosses. Could it be used to prosecute Harvey Weinstein?
Lawyers for six actresses who say they were sexually assaulted by the movie producer filed a lawsuit Wednesday in New York arguing that Weinstein was, essentially, a racketeer who used a legion of assistants, casting agents, security firms, gossip writers and others to supply himself with a steady stream of unwilling sexual partners and silence their complaints.
Their anti-racketeering suit was filed in a civil court, but it prompted discussions about whether prosecutors could make a similar criminal case.
The women suing Weinstein in civil court say the “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” consisted of a long list of people who either enabled Weinstein’s assaults or covered them up.
“The goal of the (anti-racketeering) claim is to ensure not only do we get the head of the enterprise, but also those around him who enabled his conduct, whether they tampered with witnesses or destroyed evidence after the fact, or even delivered the women to him,” said Beth Fegan, the lead lawyer on the civil suit.