The jury at Harvey Weinstein’s sex abuse trial have heard evidence about an Israeli outfit he hired to investigate his accusers.
A firm called Black Cube, which was founded by former intelligence analysts from the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and is staffed by many former Mossad agents, was hired by Weinstein in 2017.
Black Cube investigators used fake identities to glean information from reporters looking into the allegations, and to befriend women accusing the now-disgraced movie mogul of abuse, in order to extract information from them.
In October 2017 the New York Times (NYT) reported that more than a dozen women had accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or rape, lifting the lid on a scandal that ushered in the #MeToo movement. A year later, more than 80 women – most actresses or aspiring actresses at the time – said they were victims too.
At his trial in New York this week, jurors heard how Black Cube was asked to “provide intelligence which will help the client’s efforts to completely stop the publication of a new negative article in a leading NY newspaper”. The firm was even due a $300,000 bonus if it succeeded.
When a reporter asked the 67-year old Weinstein as he left his rape trial why he hired Black Cube, he said: “For days like this.”
The jury of seven men and five women had earlier been shown an email from Weinstein to Black Cube reading: “Red flags are the ones of interest.” Prosecutors say this refers to list of names marked in red to identify accusers, including Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who is one of six women testifying in court.
Weinstein has also been charged with rape in Los Angeles. He has insisted that everything was consensual.
The NYT revealed that the contract between Weinstein and Black Cube was personally signed by David Boies, one of America’s best-known liberal lawyers. His firm represented the newspaper at the time. Shortly after publication, he was told his services were no longer required.