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Disgraced Movie Mogul Harvey Weinstein Faces Criminal Charges

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Harvey Weinstein was already a household name before he set off the #MeToo era. He had spent decades on top of the entertainment world. Then multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations hit the film producer. They cost him his reputation and his company. Now they may cost him his freedom. Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to the New York City Police Department sometime today, reportedly to face sexual assault charges. Jodi Kantor of The New York Times was one of the reporters who broke the Weinstein story in the fall of 2017. She joins us on the line now. Hey, Jodi.

JODI KANTOR: Good morning.

MARTIN: You first reported accusations against Harvey Weinstein last October, as we mentioned. Since then dozens of women have come forward alleging harassment, or that they were assaulted or even raped by Weinstein. Do we know which case it is that has resulted in these criminal charges now?

KANTOR: So there are two cases, and one we know more about, one we know less about. The first one is a woman named Lucia Evans who says that in 2004 Harvey Weinstein forced her to give him oral sex in his office. The second woman we don't know anything about yet.

MARTIN: You spoke with several of Weinstein's accusers for your reporting, obviously. And I understand that you still talk with some of them. How are they reacting to this news?

KANTOR: It was really so momentous for all of them yesterday. For so long, Harvey Weinstein had his own private system of justice. He paid fancy lawyers to settle allegations in silence. We now know that he hired spies, intelligence, private intelligence agents to try to dupe the women and even dupe people like me who were trying to write stories about him. He didn't seem accountable to anybody. He posed with the top politicians in the land. And so today it feels like the beginning of the justice system actually going to work on him.

MARTIN: So the Me Too movement has pushed a lot of powerful men out of their jobs. But it really has been rare to see any criminal charges. Do you think this is going to change that, embolden prosecutors to pursue sexual assault charges against others?

KANTOR: Well, there's the - I think the biggest question we're looking at is, how does the law respond to the Me Too moment? And that is true both in the civil sense and the criminal sense. Does the law begin to take sexual harassment more seriously? Because sexual harassment laws are pretty weak. And then there's the whole criminal side of the equation which we're beginning to see play out today with Harvey Weinstein.

MARTIN: What happens today? I mean, Weinstein, we should say, still maintains that he's innocent, right?

KANTOR: He does. He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. So what happens today is that he - we believe he's about to show up at a police precinct in Manhattan to turn himself in, and then he'll be arraigned. He'll be processed through the system. He'll be out on bail. He's going to wear an electronic - he's going to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet. He has to surrender his passport so he won't be allowed out of the country. And the criminal justice process will begin. We should say, by the way, there's still an investigative grand jury that's calling witnesses and looking at evidence. So it may be that these are not the only two charges brought.

MARTIN: Jodi Kantor of The New York Times, one of the reporters who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. Thanks so much, Jodi. We appreciate it.

KANTOR: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.