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NYPD Says It's Gathering Evidence To Charge Weinstein With Rape

Little more than a month since the New York Times and New Yorker published exposes about Hollywood studio head Harvey Weinstein's decades-long history of preying on women, the New York Police Department said one of its two investigations into Weinstein is nearing its end - and that it's preparing to arrest Weinstein on charges of rape.

New York City police investigators believe a 2010 rape allegation made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is "credible" and they are gathering evidence to seek an arrest warrant. Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Friday that investigators have interviewed Paz de la Huerta, who publicly accused Weinstein of raping her twice in her apartment. Boyce said detectives found the "Boardwalk Empire" actress' story believable and corroborated portions of her account. Speaking at a police briefing, Boyce also said that if Weinstein were in New York now and the assault allegation were recent, "we'd go right away and make the arrest. No doubt."

But he said that since Weinstein was in another state and the allegations were years old, investigators have to gather evidence first. According to local media reports, Weinstein was spotted dining at a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona. The former mogul was spotted at Chestnut Fine Food & Provisions wearing a blond wig, orange makeup and a baseball cap. A manager at the restaurant said Weinstein did come in to eat, but employees didn't know it was him until the pictures were released.

Since the initial expose, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of harassment, groping or rape. Weinstein was swiftly fired in the wake of the allegations, and has since sought to sue his former company for wrongful termination (to which we say: good luck with that).

At last count, there are more than 6 active investigations into Weinstein - including two purportedly being conducted by the NYPD. The NYPD had previously come close to arresting Weinstein on a misdemeanor sex assault charge after they caught him on tape admitting that he groped a actress who became a cooperating witness. However, that investigation was quashed by Manhattan Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. in a decision that's raised questions of impropriety since Vance later received a campaign donation from Weinstein's lawyer.

The allegations against Weinstein have led to a wave of victims to come forward and accuse powerful figures in the media and entertainment industries of sexual indiscretions ranging from harassment to assault. And today, the AP reported four Congresswomen's stories about being harassed by fellow lawmakers.

While Weinstein has protected himself from civil litigation with settlements and NDAs, the fact that many of Weinstein's alleged crimes were committed over the past few years leaves him particularly vulnerable to criminal prosecution.

By the looks of it, this could be the beginning of the end.