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Harvey Weinstein
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2011 file photo, film producer Harvey Weinstein poses for a photo in New York. Weinstein has asked a judge to toss out a federal sexual misconduct lawsuit filed against him and he's invoking the words of some A-list actresses in his defense. (AP Photo/John Carucci, File)

Probe into Manhattan DA's handling of Weinstein case on hold

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NEW YORK (AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the state attorney general's office to suspend its probe into whether the Manhattan district attorney mishandled 2015 allegations of sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Barbara Underwood confirmed Wednesday that the investigation was put on temporary hold this summer on the orders of the Democratic governor.

The spokeswoman, Amy Spitalnick, said the investigation into Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.'s handling of the Weinstein case was suspended to avoid interfering with Vance's ongoing prosecution of Weinstein. "We remain committed to conducting a comprehensive, fair, and independent review," Spitalnick added.

The attorney general's office said the suspension of the investigation into Vance's office would have no effect on the attorney general's civil rights lawsuit against Weinstein stemming from sexual misconduct allegations by employees of the movie producer's company.

Cuomo directed then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in March to investigate Vance's decision not to prosecute Weinstein on charges that he groped an Italian model in 2015.

Schneiderman resigned in May following reports that four women had accused him of sexual and physical abuse. He was replaced by Underwood.

Weinstein was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on rape charges later that month. Additional Manhattan sexual assault charges were brought against him in July.

Cuomo's office says the probe into Vance's handling of the 2015 allegations was postponed for six months starting in June.

"Given the recent indictment and prosecution of Harvey Weinstein by the district attorney, the attorney general's investigation has been postponed for six months," Cuomo press secretary Dani Lever said.

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