“The man seated right there was not just a titan in Hollywood, he was a rapist, sexually assaulting these women when they refused to comply with his desires and his orders and then using his power and prestige in the entertainment industry to ensure their silence,” said Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast.
She described in detail Mr Weinstein’s alleged attacks on former production assistant Ms Haleyi and actress Ms Mann, as well as on actress Annabella Sciorra. Ms Sciorra’s allegation is too old to be the basis of a separate charge but is being used by prosecutors to establish a pattern of serious sex crimes against multiple women.
Coaxed to hotel rooms
Ms Sciorra is expected to testify on Thursday, according to Mr Weinstein’s spokesman, Juda Engelmayer. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to comment.
Ms Hast told a jury of seven men and five women that Mr Weinstein manipulated women with promises to open doors in Hollywood, coaxing them to hotel rooms or private apartments and then overpowering and violently attacking them.
One female juror seemed to wince at the graphic details, which included Ms Hast recounting Mr Weinstein forcibly performing oral sex on Ms Haleyi, yanking out her tampon.
Mr Weinstein’s lawyer, Damon Cheronis, said the evidence would show that consensual interactions were being relabelled as attacks.
Ms Haleyi reached out to Mr Weinstein multiple times after the alleged assault, including once to “reminisce” about their time together in 2006, Mr Cheronis said.
You don’t call Harvey Weinstein a predator in 2020 when you want to introduce him to your mother in 2015.
— Damon Cheronis, lawyer for Harvey Weinstein
The lawyer said Ms Mann repeatedly sought out Mr Weinstein’s company and told the producer she loved him and even wanted him to meet her mother.
“While the narrative they painted for you is one that may reinforce your preconceived notions, it’s not the truth,” Mr Cheronis told jurors.“You don’t call Harvey Weinstein a predator in 2020 when you want to introduce him to your mother in 2015.”
Ms Hast cautioned jurors that rape was not a “back alley” attack at the hands of a stranger. She promised to bring in an expert to explain that victims were often assaulted by someone they knew and did not report the crime. Victims even “reach back out to their attacker”, she said.
More than 80 women
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused Mr Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Mr 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.
Justice James Burke told potential jurors last week that they must decide Weinstein’s case based on the evidence and not make the trial “a referendum on the #MeToo movement”.
The trial could last about six more weeks.
Regardless of the outcome of the trial, Weinstein faces additional charges in California. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced on January 6 that Mr Weinstein had been charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2013.