18:09 GMT +314 November 2018
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    Italian actress Asia Argento. File photo

    LA Police Seek Out Weinstein Accuser's "Abuse Victim" as She Faces Criticism

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    Earlier, The New York Times reported that the Italian actress allegedly paid hush money to Jimmy Bennett, who accused her of sexually assaulting him in a California hotel room in 2013, when he was 17 and she was 37.

    Captain Darren Harris of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) said in a statement that they are already in the know about media reports which name Italian actress and director Asia Argento "as being involved in an alleged 2013 incident" with the man.

    The LASD's Special Victims Bureau "is attempting to reach out to the reported victim and/or his representatives in an effort to appropriately document any potential criminal allegations," Harris said without naming Bennett.

    READ MORE: US Movie Mogul Weinstein Pleads Not Guilty, Freed on $1Mln Bail — Reports

    Harris added that the LASD has yet to located "any police report alleging criminal activity within our jurisdiction in relation to this incident.

    The statement came as Benjamin Brafman, attorney of the embattled Hollywood mogul, described "the development" related to the Italian actress as something that "reveals a stunning level of hypocrisy by Asia Argento, one of the most vocal catalysts who sought to destroy Harvey Weinstein."

    "The sheer duplicity of her conduct is quite extraordinary and should demonstrate to everyone how poorly the allegations against Mr. Weinstein were actually vetted and accordingly, cause all of us to pause and allow due process to prevail, not condemnation by fundamental dishonesty," Brafman said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

    READ MORE: Ex-Weinstein Aide Praised on Social Media for Breaking Silence on Rape Claims

    Earlier this week, The New York Times reported that in April 2018, Argento ostensibly paid $380,000 to actor and rock musician Jimmy Bennett who was two months past his 17th birthday at the time of the alleged encounter with the Italian actress. The legal age of consent in California is 18.

    Actor Salma Hayek attends the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and InStyle celebration of the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards season at Catch LA in West Hollywood, California, U.S. November 15, 2017
    © REUTERS / Patrick T. Fallon/File Photo
    Right now, Bennett is claiming $3.5 million in damages for "intentional infliction of emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery," which Bennett's lawyers have claimed had traumatized the young actor, damaging his mental health and earning potential.

    42-year-old Argento became a leading figure in the #MeToo movement, which was established after more than 80 women, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, came forward with allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein since the New York Times claimed in October 2017 that he had allegedly paid off women who had accused him of sexual assault since the 1980s.

    Related:

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    Weinstein Co. Files for Bankruptcy, Allows Abuse Victims Among Staff to Speak Up
    New York Attorney General Sues Weinstein Company
    Posters in Los Angeles Claim Meryl Streep Enabled Weinstein's Predation (PHOTO)
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    victim, incident, allegations, development, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), Asia Argento, United States
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