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NYPD says it is building rape case against Harvey Weinstein

NEW YORK — An actress' rape allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein are credible, and investigators are gathering evidence for a criminal case, New York City police said Friday.

It started seven years this month when actress Paz de la Huerta said she ran into Harvey Weinstein at a party at a bar at the Standard Highline Hotel. She publicly accused him of raping her in her TriBeCa apartment.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said Friday that investigators have interviewed Paz de la Huerta, and found the "Boardwalk Empire" actress' story believable and corroborated portions of her account.

And now the NYPD says they are building a strong case of rape against the movie mogul.

“We have an actual case here,” Chief Boyce said at a news conference.

The factors that made her story credible included: "The ability to articulate each and every minute of the crime, where she was, where they met, where this happened and what he did," he said.

An email message sent to Weinstein representative Sallie Hofmeister was not immediately returned.

De la Huerta told police that the first rape occurred in October 2010 after Weinstein gave her a ride home from a party, insisted on having a drink in her apartment and forced himself on her. She said the second rape occurred in December 2010 after Weinstein came to her apartment. She had been drinking and was not in a condition to give consent, according to published reports.

Speaking at a police briefing, Boyce said of Weinstein: "If this person was still in new York, and it was recent, we'd go right away and make the arrest. No doubt. But we're talking about a 7-year-old case. And we have to move forward gathering evidence first."

Investigators could seek an arrest warrant, which requires a court order, or hand the evidence over to prosecutors to put the allegations to a grand jury to seek an indictment.

“We are happy with where the investigation is right now,” Boyce said. “Weinstein is out of state. We would need an arrest warrant to arrest him. Right now we are gathering evidence.”

The Manhattan district attorney's office said a senior prosecutor has been assigned to investigate allegations but didn't comment further.

The investigation comes a month after The New York Times published an expose of sexual harassment allegations against Weinstein, leading to his firing from the company he co-founded and his expulsion from the organization that bestows the Academy Awards.

The accusations against Weinstein encouraged more women to come forward with their tales of sexual assault and sparking the #MeToo movement.

And that may be why we are seeing a spike in rape reporting in the city.

At the NYPD’s monthly crime stat meeting, the only category that had a increase was rape, a 21 percent increase in the reporting of rapes this month, but many of those rapes had taken place earlier.

“About 13 percent took place more than a year ago,” Dermiot Shea, an NYPD Chief said at the news conference. “It’s an increase in reporting and that is positive.”