NEW YORK (AP) — Some were aspiring actresses. One was a star on the rise. Another was looking to get more involved in behind-the-scenes aspects of the film and TV business.
Six women out of the many who have accused Harvey Weinstein of vile sexual behavior have testified over the last two weeks at his New York City rape trial.
Their harrowing accounts, the centerpiece of a prosecution case that rested Thursday after two weeks of testimony, could help convict the disgraced film producer and put him in prison for the rest of his life.
The charges that jurors could soon be weighing involve just two allegations: that Weinstein, 67, raped a woman in March 2013 and he forced oral sex on another woman in 2006.
Other accusers were allowed to testify because prosecutors allege there was a practiced method to Weinstein’s attacks. He maintains that any sexual encounters were consensual.
The women testified that he feigned interest in their careers, sometimes dangling auditions and starring roles as a guise to get them into a hotel room or an apartment, or barging in on them.
Then, they testified, he attacked. These are their stories.
UNNAMED WOMAN, ALLEGED RAPE, MARCH 2013
The woman, 34, alleges Weinstein trapped her in a Manhattan hotel room, angrily ordered her to undress as he loomed over her, and then raped her before they were to meet her friends for breakfast on the eve of his 61st birthday.
She alleges Weinstein raped her again several months later at a Beverly Hills, California, hotel. She said she isn’t sure if she’ll pursue charges there.
The woman testified for three days, more than any other accuser, and broke down crying in the middle of an exhaustive cross-examination that focused on the complex nature of her relationship with Weinstein, including consensual sexual encounters. That prompted the judge to send jurors home for the day.
When she returned, the woman defiantly declared: “He is my rapist.”
The Associated Press has a policy of not publishing the names of people who allege sexual assault without their consent. It is withholding name of the rape accuser because it isn’t clear if she wishes to be identified publicly.
MIMI HALEYI, JULY 2006
Haleyi, now 42, alleges Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his SoHo apartment after he got her a job as a production assistant on the Weinstein-produced “Project Runway.”
“I was kicking, I was pushing, I was trying to get away from his grip,” she testified. “He held me down and kept pushing me down to the bed.” She told jurors she thought she was being raped and wondered “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?”
Haleyi said she and Weinstein had sex at a hotel two weeks later. She said she didn’t want to be intimate, but didn’t think Weinstein forced her to have sex.
Those episodes followed a May 2006 encounter at the Cannes Film Festival where Haleyi says he asked her to give him a massage. She said he also insisted she go with him to the Paris fashion shows, which she repeatedly declined.
PREDATORY SEXUAL ASSAULT CHARGE
Complicating matters, prosecutors have charged that those encounters were predatory sexual assaults.
Under New York law, one way a person can be found guilty of that crime is if he or she committed rape or certain other sex offenses in the past, even if that conduct didn’t result in criminal charges at the time.
In Weinstein’s case, prosecutors allege that before he assaulted Haleyi in 2006 and raped the woman in his hotel room in 2013, he raped actress Annabella Sciorra in late 1993 or early 1994 — an accusation that is too old to be the basis for criminal charges on its own.
Sciorra, 59, was the first accuser to testify.
In a quivering voice, she told the jury that the burly Weinstein barged into her apartment after they attended a dinner with actress Uma Thurman and other industry figures, threw her on a bed and forced himself on her as she futilely kicked and punched him.
She said about a month later, she ran into him and confronted him. She said he replied, “that’s what all the nice Catholic girls say” and then leaned toward her and added menacingly: “This remains between you and I.”
— Tarale Wulff, now 43 and a model, testified that Weinstein raped her at his SoHo apartment between May 2005 and July 2005 after luring her there with a ruse of reading a script for a movie. She said she froze as he attacked her, thinking that would make it “easier to get through, to get past it.” Wulff also said that before the alleged rape, he accosted her at a night club where she was waitressing, led her to a hallway and started masturbating.
— Dawn Dunning, now 40, told jurors that Weinstein put his hand up her skirt and fondled her genitals during what was supposed to be a meeting about her fledgling career in his hotel suite in 2004, when she was 23. She says he later tried trading movie roles for three-way sex with him and his assistant. Dunning said that when she laughed off that proposition, Weinstein told her, “you’ll never make it in this business, this is how this industry works.”
— Lauren Marie Young, now 30, was the last accuser take the witness stand. She testified that Weinstein stripped naked groped her breast and masturbated in the bathroom of his Beverly Hills hotel room days before the Oscars in February 2013. She said went to the room with Weinstein and his friend, a Mexican model, to continue a conversation they’d been having about her career. Her allegations are the subject of a criminal charge filed against Weinstein in California on Jan. 6, just as his New York trial was getting underway.
By MICHAEL R. SISAK
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