Thursday, 6 February 2020
Prosecutors in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial rested their case on Thursday after calling six of the former mogul’s female accusers to the stand. Their accusations, taken together, have illuminated patterns: the late-night meetings at hotel bars that moved into hotel suites, the promises of auditions or roles in Weinstein productions in exchange for sexual favors and the physical violence of restraining the arms of protesting women. And then there were the persistent fears of retaliation, the attempts to pretend the alleged incidents never happened and the emotional tolls of trauma, shame and self-blame.
These women’s stories have completed a graphic and striking portrait of the former mogul’s decades-long treatment of women seeking entry or respect within the entertainment industry — one that Weinstein and his attorneys have disputed. But the ultimate determination of Weinstein’s fate will be up to the 12-person jury, a group of seven men and five women who will deliberate on whether Weinstein’s sexual encounters with two of the accusers — Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann — were nonconsensual beyond a reasonable doubt.
Weinstein has been accused by more than 100 women of misconduct — but this trial focuses on the accusations of just two, on charges of a first-degree criminal sexual act, predatory sexual assault, and first- and third-degree rape. If found guilty of the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, Weinstein — who has pleaded not guilty — faces life in prison.
On Thursday afternoon, Weinstein’s robust defense team will present their own witnesses to rebut the accounts of the accusers. But as they do, the accusations of the women will still linger. Here is a summary of their testimonies.
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Actress Annabella Sciorra was the first accuser to take the stand and, compared to the other witnesses, the most well-established in her career at the time of the alleged incident with Weinstein.
Sciorra testified that Weinstein barged into her apartment in Manhattan’s Gramercy Park neighborhood one night in 1993, raped her and ejaculated onto her leg and nightgown. Though she attempted to resist by punching and kicking the producer, Sciorra said Weinstein held her hands above her head to restrain her as he assaulted her. Afterward, Sciorra said that Weinstein performed oral sex on her without her consent.
“My body shut down,” she testified. “It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. I didn’t really even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something.”
Sciorra said she began abusing alcohol and cutting herself in the aftermath of the alleged rape. She also described painting a wall in her apartment a “blood-red color” with tubes of oil paint and her own blood, marking the spots with her blood using gold leaf.
“I didn’t feel good,” she said through tears, “and I didn’t want to go out, and so I spent a lot of time inside.”
The defense, in its cross-examination, questioned Sciorra on why she never told the police and how Weinstein could have gotten up to her apartment if there was a doorman in her building.
Weinstein is not being charged based on Sciorra’s account, but her testimony was used by the prosecution to help show the jury that Weinstein preyed upon numerous women.
*Also Read:* Annabella Sciorra Testifies Harvey Weinstein Raped Her: 'My Body Shut Down'
*MIRIAM HALEY (NÉE MIMI HALEYI)*
Miriam Haley, a former production assistant on the Weinstein-produced TV show “Project Runway,” testified that Weinstein held her down on a bed by her wrists, pulled out her tampon, and sexually assaulted her in his SoHo apartment in 2006.
“He held me down on the bed and he forced himself on me orally. I was on my period, I had a tampon in there — I was mortified,” Haley testified on Jan. 27.
Later that year, Haley said Weinstein convinced her to meet up with him again at a hotel in TriBeCa for another meeting. “I feel like I was trying to regain some sort of power,” Haley said, explaining why she decided to meet with him again at the time.
But when she arrived, Haley said she was directed to meet Weinstein in his hotel room. “Almost instantly, he took my hand and pulled me towards the bed,” she said. “I just went numb. I thought, ‘Here we go again.'”
It was then that Weinstein had sex with her and called her a “whore” and a “bitch.”
“He [had] convinced me to meet him again, just to do something like that to me again, and I felt like an idiot,” a visibly upset Haley said. “I felt numb.”
The defense zeroed in on old details from Haley’s calendars, which included some entries that were crossed out, in an attempt to question her credibility, and questioned why she would agree to meet up with Weinstein again in TriBeCa after the first alleged incident.
Haley’s testimony forms two of the charges against Weinstein.
*Also Read:* Former 'Project Runway' Assistant Testifies Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her: 'I Was Mortified'
Jessica Mann, a hairdresser and former aspiring actress, offered the most harrowing, graphic, and violent accusations against Weinstein during her testimony. She is also the only witness who attempted to have a romantic relationship with him that she said, at times, included consensual sex — something she acknowledged was “complicated and different.”
The crux of her accusation for the New York trial rests on an incident in 2013, where she said Weinstein violently raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in New York.
Mann testified that Weinstein commanded her to undress and grabbed her hands to force her to do so.
“I gave up at that point, and I undressed and he stood over me until I was completely naked, and then he told me to lay on the bed. And once I was naked and laying on the bed, he walked into the bathroom and closed the door behind him,” Mann said. “He came out, naked, and he got on top of me and that’s when he put himself inside of me, his penis inside of me.”
When he was finished, Mann said she ran into the bathroom and saw a needle inside the trash can that Weinstein had used on his penis.
Mann also accused Weinstein of violently ripping her jeans off and raping her in a Los Angeles hotel where she was working at the time as a hairdresser.
“He was screaming, ‘You owe me one more time,’ as he was dragging me into the bedroom,” Mann said through tears. “He sort of threw me down onto the bed and he was demanding that I take off my clothes, and I was begging him, … ‘Please, no.'”
Mann appeared on the stand for three grueling days and the defense team vigorously questioned her about her ongoing, friendly communications with Weinstein after the alleged rape. “I do know the emails. I’m not ashamed of them — that’s why I’m still here,” she said. “I know it’s complicated and different, but it doesn’t change the fact that he raped me.”
Mann’s testimony forms the basis of three of the charges against Weinstein.
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Costume designer and former aspiring actress Dawn Dunning said that in 2004, Weinstein touched her genitals without her consent and propositioned her for a threesome with his assistant in exchange for movie roles.
Dunning — testifying as a “prior bad acts” witness — said she was invited to meet Weinstein in SoHo to visit the set of a production his company was working on but was directed to go to a hotel suite that was operating like an on-location office. The situation didn’t raise any “red flags” for Dunning at first. But then, she said Weinstein got her alone in a bedroom, put his hand up her skirt and underneath her underwear, and tried to put his hand inside her vagina.
“I just kind of froze for a minute and then stood up. He told me not to make a big deal about it, he apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again,” Dunning said. “I wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen. I just didn’t want to be a victim.”
Soon after, Dunning said she was invited to meet with Weinstein again for a work-related meeting. Wanting to give him the “benefit of the doubt,” Dunning said she made the decision to go and meet him again. She was led by an assistant to his hotel suite, where she said the producer greeted her in an open bathrobe.
“He kind of just cut to the chase and said, ‘Here’s contracts for three films. I’ll sign them today if you have a threesome with me and my assistant,'” Dunning said. When she laughed it off, thinking it was a joke, Dunning said Weinstein began “screaming” at her and said, “You’ll never make it in this business. This is how this industry works.”
Dunning said she fled the hotel and stopped pursuing a career as an actress as a result of the interaction. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done — the worst and hardest thing I’ve done,” Dunning said of testifying in the case. “I would not wish this on anybody.”
During the defense’s cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney Arthur Aidala questioned Dunning about the TV interviews she’s given since coming forward with her accusation and why she had not previously come forward with the accusation that Weinstein touched her genitals without her consent.
*Also Read:* Aspiring Actress Testifies Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her, Teased Film Roles in Exchange for Threesome
Model and former aspiring actress Tarale Wulff testified that Weinstein raped her in 2005 at his SoHo apartment and masturbated in front of her at Cipriani, an upscale restaurant and lounge where she was a cocktail waitress.
Wulff — another “prior bad acts” witness — said she first met Weinstein at Cipriani and that the producer had expressed an interest in helping her acting career. Thinking he wanted to discuss acting-related matters in a more quiet part of the restaurant, Wulff said Weinstein led her up to an unused terrace in the building and proceeded to masturbate in front of her.
“I noticed that his shirt started moving, and I realized he was masturbating under his shirt,” Wulff said. “I just froze for a second, and then I just threw the towel and ran past him.”
After the alleged incident, Wulff said she was contacted by the Weinstein Company to read for a part. But the audition never took place and, instead, Wulff was taken to Weinstein’s apartment, where he raped her and told her not to “worry” about it.
“He put himself inside me and he raped me,” Wulff said. “I just went blank.”
The defense grilled Wulff on why she would agree to go to the Weinstein Company offices to read for a part after the alleged masturbation incident in Cipriani, and why she did not walk out of Weinstein’s SoHo apartment when she realized where she was.
*Also Read:* Model Testifies Harvey Weinstein Raped Her at His SoHo Apartment, Masturbated in Front of Her at Cipriani
Model Lauren Young, the final “prior bad acts” witness to testify for the prosecution, accused Weinstein of groping her breast and masturbating in front of her in a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013.
At the time, Young was trying to make the transition into acting when she said she was invited by one of Weinstein’s friends, model Claudia Salinas, to meet the producer and discuss a script.
After a short conversation at the hotel bar, Young said Weinstein asked to bring the conversation back to his hotel suite because he needed to get ready for an event. He led Young back to his room and into the bathroom, where she said he proceeded to undress as Salinas shut the door behind them. When Young turned to leave the bathroom, she said a naked Weinstein stood between her and the door.
“He starts [saying], ‘We’re just going to have a talk here. We’re just talking,’ like it was nothing that he was naked,” Young said. “I felt so trapped.”
She then remembered backing up toward the bathroom sinks and turning around so she didn’t have to look at his naked body. But he came closer and unzipped her white dress, she said.
“He is masturbating and grasping my boob, my right breast, with his left hand and jerking off with his right hand, saying, ‘How am I going to know you can act?'” Young said emotionally. “I said, ‘No, no, no,’ the whole time, that I had a boyfriend, that I wasn’t interested.”
The model said he eventually ejaculated onto a towel. The incident left her feeling “scared, terrified, [and] paranoid.”
During the defense’s cross-examination, Young was asked to explain the discrepancies in the timeline of her accusation — she first told investigators she believed the incident took place soon after she first met Weinstein and Salinas at a dinner, but she later found out, after looking through her old emails, that the incident took place a year after. The defense also took out the dress Young said she was wearing that day to question how the dress fell off her body.
*Related stories from TheWrap:*
Aspiring Actress Testifies 'Deformed'-Looking Harvey Weinstein Raped Her After Using Penile Injection
Model Testifies Harvey Weinstein Raped Her at His SoHo Apartment, Masturbated in Front of Her at Cipriani
Aspiring Actress Testifies Harvey Weinstein Sexually Assaulted Her, Teased Film Roles in Exchange for Threesome
'I Felt So Trapped': Model Testifies Harvey Weinstein Groped Her Breast, Masturbated in Front of Her at Hotel in 2013