Could accused movie mogul Harvey Weinstein be a step closer to being criminally charged with a sex crime in Los Angeles? Possibly, after LAPD detectives sent three cases to the district attorney on Thursday.
"Three cases have been presented to our office by the Los Angeles Police Department regarding Mr. Weinstein and are under review," said Greg Risling, spokesman for the DA's office, in an email to USA TODAY.
He offered no details on the cases involved.
Weinstein, once one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, has been accused by more than 80 women of sexual harassment, assault, coercion and rape. Many of his accusers say they were victimized in Los Angeles.
But many of the accusations also date back decades, possibly outside the statute of limitations for some types of sex crimes in California.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
After Weinstein's fall last October set off a surge of sexual misconduct allegations against dozens of other powerful figures in Hollywood, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey in November set up a task force of specially-trained prosecutors and investigators to handle the flow of cases brought to them by police agencies in the county.
That task force is supposed to review the cases for possible prosecution. But bringing a case to the DA doesn't automatically result in criminal charges.
Weinstein is also being pursued criminally in London and New York but so far no charges have been filed against him in either city.
This despite the November declaration by NYPD's chief of detectives Robert Boyce that the Special Victims Unit was developing a strong criminal case against Weinstein in connection with actress Paz de la Huerta's claim that he raped her seven years ago.
The last time the NYPD tried to bring a sex-crime charge against Weinstein was in 2015 when a former beauty queen/model, Ambra Battilana, accused Weinstein of groping her in his office. She agreed to wear a wire and then recorded him seemingly admit to it.
But after the case was presented to prosecutors, District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to prosecute for lack of evidence of criminal intent.
"While the recording is horrifying to listen to, what emerged from the audio was insufficient to prove a crime under New York law, which requires prosecutors to establish criminal intent," said Chief Assistant DA Karen Friedman-Agnifilo in a statement provided to USA TODAY at the time.
"Subsequent investigative steps undertaken in order to establish intent were not successful. This, coupled with other proof issues, meant that there was no choice but to conclude the investigation without criminal charges.”