The law was drafted to bring down organized crime but it isn’t limited to it, Blakey said. It has been used by prosecutors used to go after rule-breaking Wall Street firms and corrupt government contractors. Federal prosecutors are currently using it to battle alleged bribery in global soccer in a trial ongoing in Brooklyn.

But a criminal anti-racketeering case also has many hurdles, Blakey said. Federal prosecutors would have to prove that a criminal enterprise existed, it affected interstate commerce and the defendant was associated with and engaged in racketeering. It would also have to be brought within five years of the conspiracy ending, he said. The racketeering statute is a federal law, though some states, like New York and California, have similar state laws.

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.