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How the Weinstein allegations led to criminal charges

Harvey Weinstein was arraigned in New York on rape and felony sex charges on Friday. The charges come on the heels of a seven-month police investigation; last fall, accusations against him galvanized the #MeToo movement. Amna Nawaz talks with Ronan Farrow of The New Yorker to get a closer look at how investigators pursued their case.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Today, authorities filed criminal charges against filmmaker Harvey Weinstein.

    Amna Nawaz has more on the story.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Judy, Weinstein was charged with rape in one case, and first-degree criminal sex acts in another. The charges come on the heels of a seven-month police investigation, and are based on allegations made by two women, one of whom first shared her story with Ronan Farrow, a writer for "The New Yorker" magazine.

    Ronan continues to follow this story today, and joins me from New York.

    Ronan, thanks for making the time.

    I want to ask you now. That first story back in October, when you reported about this, you had the stories of multiple women, many accusations over many years.

    Your latest story last night talked about how those allegations and accusations turned into charges. How did that happen?

  • Ronan Farrow:

    Good to be here.

    The day after that story that you just described ran, as it turns out, members of the NYPD cold case squad reached out to one of the women with an assault allegation in it, a woman named Lucia Evans, who did an incredibly brave thing in speaking out in the press.

    She then, in the ensuing months, faced yet another still more difficult decision, whether to upend her life for years potentially as a star witness in this case.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You spoke to Lucia Evans. You spoke to 12 other women as part of that report.

    Did you or any of the women you spoke to believe at any time that those conversations could turn into criminal charges down the line?

  • Ronan Farrow:

    I think, overall, the feeling was that this was a distant, near impossibility. Time and time again, I had conversations with these women contemplating taking this incredibly brave step, and facing retaliation and career annihilation.

    And they said, even if we do this, will we be heard? Will it make any difference?

    It was hard for many of them to envision a universe in which they would not only be heard, but it might be a key part of ensuring accountability. And so I think today is an unexpected moment. It's a wrenching moment in a lot of ways. I think it brings up a lot of feelings for a lot of the women who have been reaching out to me over the course of the day, but also a fulfilling moment.

    It's a sign that, for the first time in a long time, stories like this are being heard.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You mentioned the women reaching out to you over the course of the day.

    What have they been saying to you? What was it like for them after many, many years in some cases to see a man like Harvey Weinstein in handcuffs on his way into the courtroom?

  • Ronan Farrow:

    It's emotional for a lot of them. Many of them have spoken out on social media and other forums to say how much this means to them and I think to many survivors around the world, some of whom are still struggling with this decision as to whether to speak.

    And, again, I want to call special attention to women like Lucia Evans who then, on top of that, have made the additional choice to put themselves on the line and in the crosshairs of an aggressive legal team that will seek to discredit them to be a part of these criminal proceedings.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Ronan, in the very first line of your October story, you wrote, "Since the establishment of the first studios a century ago, there have been few movie executives as dominant or as domineering as Harvey Weinstein."

    Talk to me about a little bit the significance of a day like today, given the national conversation sparked in large part by your reporting last year.

  • Ronan Farrow:

    Well, you know, I have to say there were activists doing this hard work long before this most recent spate of reporting by me and also a lot of other reporters who banged their head against the walls trying to get these stories about sexual violence out.

    But there was a succession of pieces of reporting that I think chipped away at a culture of silence, and that goes back to the accusers of Bill Cosby stepping forward. It goes back to what Gretchen Carlson did in exposing a culture of harassment at FOX News.

    These were all incremental steps that allowed me in my conversations with sources in the Weinstein story to say, hey, as hard as it is to envision, maybe you will be heard, because people are starting to speak about this.

    So I think what we're witnessing is a transformation right now in our culture around this issue and our ability to confront it head on.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Ronan Farrow, thanks for your reporting and thanks for your time.

  • Ronan Farrow:

    Thank you. Pleasure to be here.

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