Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra told a friend she ‘hoped’ Harvey Weinstein would give her a job, 25 years after he allegedly raped her and just two months before she spoke with journalist Ronan Farrow revealing the allegations.
Sciorra, 59, cried as she took the stand in the New York trial on Thursday, telling jurors how she desperately tried to fight off the Hollywood producer before he raped her in the winter of 1993 to 1994. She described how the once powerful movie mogul had sent her chocolate penises before attacking her.
But it also emerged during her five hour testimony that the actress had messaged her friend in August 2017 saying she was ‘more broke than I ever imagined, no (health) insurance, I haven’t worked in years and I have been reaching out to friends’. She added: ‘I am hoping Harvey has a job for me’.
Just two months later, in October 2017, she spoke with Farrow at the New Yorker about her alleged rape at the hands of Weinstein. It was then that she messaged her friend again. The first message read: ‘So Harvey…hmm?’ A follow up message from Miss Sciorra read: ‘I just need to know if you gave Harvey my number?’
The actress told the court she was just ‘fishing’ to try to find out through the friend whether Weinstein was aware that a reporter had gotten wind of her accusations.
The messages began when Sciorra’s friend sent her a message asking for her number, which she handed over. The friend then told her it was for Harvey Weinstein and Miss Sciorra replied: ‘Really? That’s interesting’.
Weinstein tormented Sciorra after raping her, prosecutor Meghan Hast told jurors, culminating in an incident at the Cannes Film Festival in 1997 where he arrived at her hotel room in his underwear and with baby oil in his hand.
Sciorra told jurors she ‘punched and kicked’ out but ‘couldn’t fight anymore because he had my hands locked’ and said Weinstein told her he had ‘perfect timing’ after ejaculating on her nightgown.
Father-of-five Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann.
Sciorra’s rape allegation from the winter of 1993 to 1994 is too old to be charged as a separate
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Annabella Sciorra cried as she took the stand in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial on Thursday. She is pictured leaving the court room following her emotional five hour testimony
Sciorra, 59, cried as she took the stand in the New York trial on Thursday, telling jurors how she desperately tried to fight off the Hollywood producer before he raped her in the winter of 1993 to 1994. She described how the once powerful movie mogul had sent her chocolate penises before attacking her. Weinstein is pictured leaving court on Thursday
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women in New York, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. He said that any sexual encounters he has had have been consensual
Annabella Sciorra played Gloria Trillo in The Sopranos, pictured. Sciorra’s rape allegation from the early 1990s is too old to be charged as a separate crime , but prosecutors hope it will show that Weinstein was a repeat sexual predator
THE WEINSTEIN JURY
18 people must be selected to make up the jury of 12 and six alternates.
The 12 jurors includes;
6 white men
1 black man
2 black women
1 Latino woman
2 white women
In an emotional five hour testimony the 59-year-old described how Weinstein, 67, ‘overpowered’ her during the alleged assault at her Manhattan home in the early 1990s. She said she began drinking heavily and cutting herself in the wake of the incident and she felt like she ‘disappeared’ from her life.
A visibly distressed Sciorra told the court: ‘(Weinstein) was there and pushed the door open, so I didn’t have an opportunity to know why he was there. Then he started to unbutton his shirt, and then I realized that in his head, he wanted to have sex and I didn’t want to. I realized what he wanted was pretty obvious, so I started to back up into my bathroom. I felt very overpowered because he was very big.’
Turning her body away from Weinstein she said: ‘He led me into the bedroom and he shoved me onto the bed. I can’t tell you exactly when his pants came off or exactly what happened. I don’t think his shirt ever got completely off.
‘As I was trying to get him off of me — I was punching him, I was kicking him — and he took my hands and put them over my head, he put my hands over my head to hold them back and he got on top of me and he raped me. I couldn’t fight anymore because he had my hands locked.’
Describing the alleged assault as ‘disgusting’ she added: ‘At a certain point, he stopped. He came out of me and he ejaculated on top of me, on my nightgown. He said, ‘I have perfect timing’. And then he proceeded to put his mouth on my vagina and before he did that, he said, ‘This is for you’. And I didn’t have very much fight left inside me at this point. I said, ‘No, no’. But there was not much I could do at that point. My body shut down.
‘It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. I didn’t even really know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something.
‘I’m not sure if I fainted or fell asleep or blacked out, but I woke up on the floor with my nightgown kind of up and I didn’t know if something else had happened.’
After bumping into Harvey at a later date she said he menacingly warned her: ‘This remains between you and I.’
Journalist Ronan Farrow’s book ‘Catch and Kill’ on breaking the Harvey Weinstein scandal in 2017
One of the next times she saw Weinstein was in London in 1994 when she was working on ‘The Innocent Sleep’. Sciorra said she moved hotels in the middle of the night to avoid him.
Their next encounter was in 1997 at the Cannes Film Festival when Weinstein turned up at her hotel room in his underwear clutching a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video in the other.
But Rotunno challenged Sciorra on why she did not turn to her co-stars Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro who she was with to promote movie Cop Land.
Trying to cast doubt on Sciorra’s version of events, Rotunno asked: ‘You were there with Sylvester Stallone, correct? You were there promoting a movie with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, heavyweights in the movie industry. Why didn’t you go to them and say get this guy away from me?’
Sciorra said: ‘I never saw anybody until I was walking on the red carpet.’
Prosecutors have accused Weinstein of committing violent attacks on aspiring actresses, who they said suffered shame and humiliation as they internalized trauma from the encounters. Defense attorneys countered that emails from the accusers to Weinstein would show they maintained warm relations, which could undermine a case that appears to rely primarily on the testimony of the accusers.
Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno noted that Sciorra never went to police or a doctor about the alleged rape.
‘At the time, I didn’t understand that that was rape,’ Sciorra said.
Rotunno also suggested that Sciorra’s judgment and recollection were clouded by drinking on the night of the alleged rape. The actress said she remembered having only a glass of wine with dinner and had kicked a Valium habit that developed after Weinstein sent her pills.
Regaining her composure for the remainder of her testimony Sciorra told Rotunno’s she had never told a friend she had ‘awkward sex’ with Weinstein.
But Rotunno told her: ‘You have no idea of the month, or potentially the year. You weren’t even really sure of the address.’ Sciorra hit back: ‘I blocked most of that part of my mind out.’
Rotunno also played the jury a clip of an interview which MIss Sciorra did on August 6 1997 with David Letterman in which she admitted to lying to journalists. Sciorra told the chat show host: ‘I have quite a bad reputation in the last couple of years for lying about a few things.’
The court also heard that Sciorra told a friend that she ‘hoped Harvey has a job for me’ in a message sent in 2017.
Weinstein hobbled into court without the aid of his walker for a second day running Thursday. He was heavily supported by members of his legal team. But he did have a new walker on hand, this time with wheels on the bottom instead the device with two tennis balls on which he had favored.
Sciorra walked into the courthouse alongside prosecutor Joan Illuzzi.
Weinstein, who reshaped the independent film industry with critically acclaimed pictures such as ‘The English Patient’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ has denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual. As he left court on Wednesday, he told reporters he felt ‘very confident’ about the case.
In October 2017, Sciorra spoke to Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker about her alleged rape at the hands of Weinstein
Witness Annabella Sciorra departs after testifying in the case of film producer Harvey Weinstein at New York Criminal Court
Annabella Sciorra is questioned by prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon on the stand as film producer Harvey Weinstein sits during his sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court on Thursday
Annabella Sciorra pictured with Sylvester Stallone at Cannes in 1997, right. Lead attorney Donna Rotunno, left, noted that Sciorra was at the event alongside the Hollywood stars when she says Weinstein showed up at her hotel room with baby oil
Weinstein hobbled into court without the aid of his walker for a second day running Thursday. He was heavily supported by members of his legal team. But he did have a new walker on hand, far left, this time with wheels on the bottom instead the device with two tennis balls on which he had favored
The new walker, this time with wheels instead of tennis balls, made its first appearance at court on Thursday
Actress Annabella Sciorra, left, with Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon on Thursday. Her testimony sets up the first of several face-to-face confrontations between Weinstein and his accusers. Sciorra pictured leaving court, right
Sciorra ‘admitted to having awkward sex’ with Weinstein as it’s revealed her movie producer friend was wired $60K by Harvey six months before she went public with allegations
After the jury had left Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzi requested to admit emails into evidence that she said were ‘relevant’.
They related to Paul Feldsher, the movie producer friend of Miss Sciorra the defense say she admitted to having ‘awkward sex’ with Weinstein.
Illuzi said the emails also show Weinstein wired Mr Feldsher $60,000 in April 2017 and wrote in an email to The Weinstein Co, his film production company, it should be filed as a ‘personal expense’.
lluzi said that actress Rosie Perez, a friend of Miss Sciorra, will testify that she told her Weinstein raped her in 1994. Illuzi said that at some point before Miss Sciorra went to London late in 1994, Miss Sciorra ‘called one night and said something to the effect I think something bad happened to me, I think I was raped’.
Illuzi said: ‘Miss Perez hears from others what the defendant did (in London). When Miss Sciorra was in London and the defendant was banging on her door.
‘Miss Perez called Miss Sciorra and Annabella said to her: ‘I don’t want him to get me again’.
‘Miss Perez put things together and said: ‘Oh my god, Harvey Weinstein was the person who raped you, isn’t that right?’
According to Miss Illuzi, Miss Sciorra replied: ‘My god I don’t even remember telling you, he was the one and he did this to me in my apartment’.
‘Harvey gave me a ride home before coming back to rape me’, Sciorra tells court
Sciorra entered court and did not look at Weinstein – but he stared at her.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzi asked her if she saw him in the court today and in a dramatic moment she stood up, pointed at him and said he was wearing a ‘black suit and white shirt’.
Sciorra told the jury that she first met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles around 1990.
Around that time she was in her early 30s and her star was on the rise after starring in films like ‘Jungle Fever’ and ‘The Hand that Rocks the Cradle’.
Sciorra said that Weinstein persuaded her to take the lead part in ‘The Night We Never Met’ even though she was exhausted from doing two films back to back.
Weinstein said he would not do it unless she took the lead and she reluctantly agreed.
The Harvey Weinstein story: From studio to courtroom
1979 – Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob found independent film distribution and production company Miramax, naming it after their parents, Miriam and Max.
June 1993 – The Walt Disney Company buys Miramax for $80 million, but the brothers stay on until 2005.
May 1994 – Director Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ starring Uma Thurman and John Travolta and backed by Miramax, wins the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.
1997 – Miramax wins its first Academy Award for best picture with ‘The English Patient.’
1999 – Miramax’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’ wins seven Oscars – including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow.
2004 – Weinstein divorces his first wife Eve Chilton, with whom he has three daughters.
2005 – The Weinstein brothers leave Miramax to set up their own production company, The Weinstein Company.
2007 – Weinstein marries English fashion director Georgina Chapman.
October 5, 2017 – The New York Times reports Weinstein settled with eight women who accused him of unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment over three decades. Weinstein in a statement apologized for causing pain to colleagues and said he was taking a leave of absence and entering therapy. Reuters did not independently verify the details of the New York Times report.
October 6, 2017 – Weinstein takes indefinite leave of absence from The Weinstein Co. The company later says he is fired.
October 10, 2017 – The New Yorker reports allegations by 13 women who said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who said he raped them. Weinstein again denies non-consensual sex. Reuters did not independently verify the details of The New Yorker’s accounts. Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, says she is leaving him.
October 14, 2017 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that selects the Oscar winners, expels Weinstein.
October 2017 – Actress Alyssa Milano fuels the expansion of the #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, by writing on Twitter: ‘If you’ve ever been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.’ In the following weeks, #MeToo would be used by millions of women.
January 1, 2018 – Hollywood celebrities launch the Time’s Up campaign to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.
May 25, 2018 – Weinstein surrenders to New York police on charges of rape and a criminal sex act involving alleged assaults against two women, in 2004 and 2013.
June 5, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to the charges.
June 9, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new charges of sexually assaulting a third woman in 2006.
October 11, 2018 – Weinstein wins dismissal of the charges over the alleged 2004 assault. Charges involving the other two women remain pending.
January 17, 2019 – Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s defense attorney, issues statement saying he is quitting, without elaborating.
January 25, 2019 – Weinstein appears in court to announce new defense team.
April 26, 2019 – Weinstein’s trial is delayed until Sept. 9 to allow defense more time to gather evidence.
July 11, 2019 – Weinstein hires third legal team after second team of defense attorneys exits the case.
August 26, 2019 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new indictment involving the same two women accusing him of two counts of predatory sexual assault, in 2006 and 2013. His trial is pushed back to Jan. 6, 2020.
December 11, 2019 – Weinstein and his bankrupt studio reach tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Representatives for Weinstein declined to comment.
January 6, 2020 – Los Angeles prosecutors announce sexual assault charges against Weinstein just hours after he appears in a New York court for the start of his trial on rape charge; Weinstein’s rape trial begins in New York.
Reporting by Reuters
Sciorra said that she began to attend a number of events to do with Miramax, his film production company, including a dinner at an Irish restaurant in New York in the winter of 1993 to 1994.
Among those who was there was Uma Thurman and at the end Sciorra accepted a ride home from Weinstein.
She went upstairs and got ready for bed and then heard a knock at her door, so she went to open it thinking it was her doorman or a neighbor.
Sciorra said she was wearing a nightgown given to her by her mother’s cousin in Italy – at this point her voice wobbled.
Illuzi asked what happened when she opened the door and she began to cry and had to compose herself as described her alleged assault.
Sciorra said: ‘The defendant was there and he pushed the door open and I didn’t have the opportunity to understand why he was there’.
Weinstein started walking around her apartment apparently to see if they were alone, she said.
Sciorra said: ‘Then I realized he thought we were going to have sex. I realized he was taking off his shirt and that in his head he wanted to have sex and I didn’t want to. I told him he had to leave.
‘I started to back up because I thought I could make it into my bedroom. I was telling him to leave, this wasn’t going to happen, I wasn’t having sex with him and he kept coming at me. I felt very overpowered because he was very big and I was 100lbs.
‘I started to back up because I thought I could make it into my bedroom and he grabbed me’.
Illuzi asked her to show where and Sciorra put her hands around her collar.
She said: ‘He led me into the bedroom and shoved me onto the bed. I was trying to get him off me, I was punching him and kicking him and trying to get away from him but he took my hands and put them over my head’.
Sciorra sobbed as she put her hands over her head with the hands together.
She said: ‘He got on top of me and he raped me’. She said she couldn’t fight him off because ‘he had my hands locked’.
Weinstein pulled himself out of her and ejaculated on her nightgown and told her: ‘I have perfect timing’.
Sciorra then described how he performed oral sex on her and said: ‘This is for you’.
Weinstein left and Sciorra blacked out and when she woke up on the floor she felt’ disgusted’.
Sciorra, who began her testimony composed before choking back her tears, had told jurors an image of her at the theater standing in front of red roses and shown to the court reminds her ‘very much of being raped by Harvey Weinstein’ as it was taken shortly after at the end of January 1994.
Weinstein ‘warned’ Sciorra, ‘This remains between you and I’
When Sciorra said she ran into Weinstein about a month after the alleged attack and confronted him about what had happened, he parried, ‘That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say,’ she testified.
Then, she said, he leaned toward her with ‘black eyes’ and said menacingly: ‘This remains between you and I.’
‘I thought he was going to hit me right there,’ Sciorra said. The dramatic testimony came on the second day of Weinstein’s trial.
Sciorra said she tried to tell her friends but she found it impossible, nor did she go to the police. She said she did not think that you could be raped by somebody you knew and that Weinstein was a ‘nice person’ until then.
And so for more than a quarter-century, she told her story only a few people close to her about the encounter, until she came forward publicly in 2017. Now, Sciorra has become the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at his New York City rape trial, seen as a watershed for the #MeToo movement.
Sciorra’s testimony sets up the first of several face-to-face confrontations between Weinstein and his accusers.
Her friend, actress Ellen Barkin, was also seen entering the court. ‘All my power All my heart All my strength I give to you dear friend and warrior … #AnnabellaSciorra,’ Barkin wrote on Twitter on Thursday morning. ‘I love you.’
Sciorra says Weinstein tried to proposition again at Cannes in 1997 with baby oil
One of the next times Sciorra said she saw Weinstein was in London in 1994 when she was working on ‘The Innocent Sleep’. She said Weinstein would call her repeatedly asking her to come to dinner with him and would send cars every day to pick her up.
Eventually he turned up at her hotel room and was ‘banging on the door saying this is Harvey, open the door’, she said. Sciorra moved hotels in the middle of the night to avoid him.
Their next encounter was in 1997 at the Cannes Film Festival when Weinstein turned up at her hotel room in his underwear clutching a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video in the other.
She frantically called all the numbers she could on hotel phone and summoned as many staff as she could – Weinstein left.
After all of this, Sciorra told the court she later had another encounter with Weinstein at an industry party.
She said: ‘Suddenly, I felt a hand on my back. I was wearing a low-cut dress, and as I turned around he immediately took his hand off me and went away.’
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court supported by members of his team on Thursday
Sciorra, who began her testimony composed, had told jurors these images of her with roses from around the time of the attack reminds her ‘very much of being raped by Harvey Weinstein’
Weinstein climbs the stairs to Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday. The court was told Weinstein used his close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton to ‘intimidate’ his victim and prosecutors showed the jury a picture of Weinstein with Bill
Weinstein arrived on Thursday without the aid of his walker which had used the two weeks prior after back surgery
Both legal teams kicked off their opening statements on Wednesday. The jury heard how one accuser, named for the first time as aspiring actress Jessica Mann, says Weinstein injected an erection drug before raping her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013.
The court was also told Weinstein used his close friendship with Bill and Hillary Clinton to ‘intimidate’ his victim and prosecutors also showed the jury a picture of Weinstein posing with Clinton during his presidency.
Describing the once powerful Hollywood producer as a ‘savvy sexual predator’, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast added: ‘At the end of this trial, the evidence will be clear, that the man seated right there was not just a titan in Hollywood, but a rapist.’
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Prosecutors likened him to the witch in Hansel and Gretel who lured in children to her gingerbread house.
But Weinstein lawyer Damon Cheronis described how Mann called Weinstein her casual boyfriend. She is also said to have texted him: ‘I love you, I always do, but I hate feeling like a booty call.’
Prosecutors had already previewed Sciorra’s testimony in a lengthy, at-times graphic opening statement Wednesday that painted Weinstein as a sexual predator who used his film industry clout to abuse women for decades.
‘The evidence will show that despite her protests, despite her fight, despite her body revolting, Harvey Weinstein felt he was entitled to take what he wanted from Annabella forcing her to live in terror of him for decades,’ prosecutor Meghan Hast told jurors in her opening statement on Wednesday.
Sciorra is one of four other accusers that prosecutors plan to call as witnesses during the month long trial.
‘Annabella, Mimi, Dawn gratitude brave warriors we are with you in solidarity,’ actress Rosanna Arquette wrote on Twitter on Thursday. Dawn Dunning is among the women who are expected to testify about Weinstein’s pattern of behavior, although he is not charged with assaulting her.
Defense questions the validity of Sciorra’s account
Sciorra was cross examined by Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno on Wednesday. Rotunno has become known as the ‘anti-MeToo lawyer’ and colleagues have described her as a ‘bulldog in the courtroom’.
She tried to cast doubt on Sciorra by asking why she didn’t do more to leave her apartment when Weinstein came in.
Rotunno said: ‘When he pushed his way in did you go out the door?’ Sciorra said: ‘No’.
She asked: ‘While he was walking around your apartment did you exit the door at that point? Sciorra replied: ‘No’.
‘When he was unbuttoning his shirt, did you walk out the door then?’, Rotunno asked. Sciorra said: ‘No’.
Sciorra said she could not remember telling prosecutors when she spoke to them that Weinstein was trying to ‘cajole’ her into bed in a ‘friendly’ way. She said that she did not leave before he put his hands on her because Weinstein was ‘frightening’.
Addressing the alleged rape Rotunno asked: ‘Did you hit him in the face? Sciorra said: ‘I don’t know’.
Rotunno asked: ‘Did you poke him in the eye?’ Sciorra said: ‘No’. Rotunno asked: ‘Did you scream?’ Sciorra said: ‘Yes.’
Trying to cast doubt on Sciorra’s version of events in Cannes, Rotunno asked: ‘You were there with Sylvester Stallone, correct? You were there promoting a movie with Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro, heavyweights in the movie industry. Why didn’t you go to them and say get this guy away from me?’
Miss Sciorra said: ‘I never saw anybody until I was walking on the red carpet.’
Rotunno also played the jury a clip of an interview which Sciorra did on August 6 1997 with David Letterman in which she admitted to lying to journalists.
She told the chat show host: ‘I have quite a bad reputation in the last couple of years for lying about a few things’.
She said that if there was a question about her personal life she ‘didn’t feel comfortable’ with and ‘didn’t think it was anybody’s business’ then she told a lie.
That included claiming that her father and the actor Dennis Hopper raced iguanas.
Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzi asked Miss Sciorra: ‘In this interview you were not talking in any way about lying about matters as serious as what we are here for?’
Miss Sciorra said: ‘No’.
The court heard that Miss Sciorra told a friend that she ‘hoped Harvey has a job for me’ in a message sent in 2017.
Miss Rotunno said that in August that year a friend of Miss Sciorra’s sent her a message asking for her number, which she handed over.
The friend then told her it was for Harvey Weinstein and Miss Sciorra replied: ‘Really? That’s interesting’.
Miss Sciorra said she did not tell him immediately not to hand it over to Weinstein because she was ‘petrified’ of him.
But Miss Rotunno pressed her and said that two days later Miss Sciorra messaged the friend saying she was ‘more broke than I ever imagined, no (health) insurance, I haven’t worked in years and I have been reaching out to friends’. She added: ‘I am hoping Harvey has a job for me’.
Miss Sciorra said: ‘I was fishing, yes’.
Miss Rotunno said that in October 2017, the same month she spoke to Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker about her alleged rape at the hands of Weinstein, she messaged her friend again.
The first message read: ‘So Harvey…hmm?’
A follow up message from Miss Sciorra read: ‘I just need to know if you gave Harvey my number?’
Rotunno also quizzed Sciorra about a box of chocolate penises she said Weinstein sent her before the alleged rape.
Sciorra described them as ‘chocolate penises in a white box’ with a card that read ‘from Harvey’.
‘Did you call him (Weinstein) and say what is this?’ Rotunno asked. Sciorra said no. Rotunno added: ‘Did you ask him whether or not or why he sent them to you?’ Sciorra replied: ‘No’.
Damon Cheronis, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, said in his opening statement Wednesday that Weinstein could not have gotten to Sciorra’s 17th floor apartment uninvited because her building had a doorman, and that Sciorra had in the past described the encounter as consensual.
He questioned the validity of Sciorra’s account, saying she once told a friend that she ‘did a crazy thing and had sex with Harvey Weinstein’ and that she had a consensual encounter with him.
‘She didn’t describe it as rape because it wasn’t,’ Cheronis said.
Cheronis offered a similar defense for the other accusations against his client. In each case, he said, women had reframed consensual relationships as predatory after the fact.
Cheronis said emails and text messages would show that Haleyi, who has said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006, repeatedly reached out to him in the following years. Mann, whom Weinstein is accused of raping in 2013, even told Weinstein she wanted him to meet her mother after the alleged attack, Cheronis said.
Hast said that the women kept in touch with Weinstein because they ‘felt trapped.’ She told jurors they should not discount the allegations simply because Weinstein did not fit the profile of a rapist grabbing victims ‘in a back alley.’
‘Here the rapist was at the pinnacle of the very profession his victims strived to make a career in,’ she said.
Weinstein, who reshaped the independent film industry with critically acclaimed pictures such as ‘The English Patient’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love,’ has denied the allegations and said any sexual encounters were consensual. He is pictured Thursday
Files arrive at court for the Weinstein rape trial Thursday. Both legal teams kicked off their opening statements on Wednesday
Actress Ellen Barkin arrives after a lunch break to watch the case of Harvey Weinstein at New York Criminal Court
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE BIGGEST TRIAL OF THE #METOO ERA – THE CHARGES AGAINST WEINSTEIN
Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, has pleaded not guilty to charges of rape and criminal sexual assault.
Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi, pictured, in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013
Who are the accusers?
More than 80 women have publicly accused Weinstein, 67, of sexual misconduct, helping to fuel the #MeToo movement over the last two years. The criminal charges against him refer to just three accusers.
Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant on a Weinstein Company television show, has said that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his Manhattan home in July 2006.
Actress Annabella Sciorra, best known for her role on HBO’s ‘The Sopranos,’ has said Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment in 1993.
Prosecutors have accused Weinstein of raping another woman in March 2013 in Manhattan. She was named as aspiring actress Jessica Mann for the first time in court on January 22.
Weinstein has said that any sexual encounters he had were consensual.
What are the charges?
Weinstein is charged with a criminal sexual act in the first degree against Haleyi, and with rape for the 2013 allegation against Mann. He is charged with predatory sexual assault over both allegations.
Sciorra’s allegation is too old to be the basis of a separate charge, but is a crucial part of the predatory sexual assault charges, which require prosecutors to establish a pattern of serious sex crimes against multiple women.
Predatory sexual assault is the most serious charge against Weinstein, carrying a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Who will testify against Weinstein?
Haleyi, Sciorra and Mann are almost certain to testify in a trial that could last until early March.
Prosecutors will also call three other women to testify about encounters with Weinstein, even though he is not formally charged with crimes against them. Their testimony is intended to bolster the charges by showing that Weinstein had a consistent pattern of behaviour.
Prosecutors have also said that they expect to call Barbara Ziv, a professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, to testify as an expert on the trauma resulting from sexual assault.
The Hollywood mogul climbed up the stairs as he arrived at a Manhattan courthouse on January 8
What is Weinstein’s defense?
Weinstein’s lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told Reuters that Weinstein had a ‘slew of witnesses ready to go.’ She has said the defense would be introducing emails and text messages to prove that Weinstein’s accusers maintained relationships with him after his alleged assaults.
His lawyers have also said they plan to call psychologist Deborah Davis of the University of Nevada, Reno, to testify as an expert on memory, suggesting that Weinstein may try to call his accusers’ recollections into question.
What other legal risks does Weinstein face?
Even if he is acquitted in Manhattan, Weinstein faces separate criminal charges announced on Jan. 6 by prosecutors in Los Angeles. Lawyer Rotunno declined to make an immediate comment on those charges.
Weinstein was charged with sexually assaulting two unidentified women in 2013, said Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey. He was charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting the other.
Reporting by Reuters