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Harvey Weinstein trial: the chilling testimonies of the six women who testified against him in court

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Jessica Rapana
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More than 100 women accused disgraced studio mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Six of these women testified against him at his criminal trial. These are their stories in their own words.

Two years after accusations against Harvey Weinstein triggered a global #metoo movement, six brave women made the decision to testify against the former movie mogul, and now-convicted rapist, in one of the most high-profile criminal trials of the century.

While more than 100 women accused the former producer of sexual misconduct, the New York trial was centred on accusations by two charged witnesses: Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann.

Their testimonies were bolstered by four further witnesses – Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young – who testified in court as “prior bad acts” witnesses in the state’s case, meaning their cases are not part of the indictment but their testimonies could support the accounts of Haley and Mann.

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On 25 February, the courage and selflessness of these women paid off when a jury found Weinstein guilty of two charges: third-degree rape and a criminal sexual act in the first-degree. The first was the rape of Mann in a New York hotel room in 2013, while the second saw Weinstein guilty of forcibly performing oral sex on Haley in 2006 at his SoHo apartment.

The fallen film producer was acquitted of three further charges, including the most serious charges against him of predatory sexual assault, which carried a possible life sentence. He has now been remanded until 11 March and faces between five to 25 years in prison for each of the counts on which he has been found guilty. Weinstein’s lawyers have indicated that he will appeal the verdict.

Here, Stylist shares the harrowing testimonies of the six women who were brave enough to face their alleged monster in court.

Anabella Sciorra

Weinstein trial: Anabella Sciorra was one of those who gave evidence against the disgraced producer.

The Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra held her arms above her head, her wrists locked together, as she explained to the court that this was how Weinstein allegedly pinned her to the bed before raping her.

“He took my hands and put them over my head to hold them back,” Sciorra said. “Then he got on top of me and he raped me.”

The alleged attack took place in the winter of 1993 to 1994, after Sciorra had been at dinner with a group of people, including Weinstein. Sciorra recalled how Weinstein had offered her a ride home to her Gramercy Park apartment. After he dropped her off, she went inside put on a white cotton nightgown, a family heirloom from Italy, before she heard a knock at the door – it was Weinstein.

The film producer began taking off his shirt, she said. “Then he grabbed me. He led me into the bedroom and he shoved me on the bed. I was punching him, I was kicking him, I was trying to take him away from me. He took my hands and put my hands over my head. He raped me. I was trying to fight but I couldn’t because he had my hands locked.”

Sciorra told the jury that Weinstein allegedly ejaculated on her nightgown, before saying: “I have perfect timing.” Then, she said, Weinstein allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on her, saying: “This is for you”.

“It was so disgusting that my entire body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. It was like a seizure,” Sciorra said.

“I wished I’d never opened the door”.

Miriam Haley

Weinstein trial: The jurors asked to be reread the testimony of Miriam Haley

Haley, a former production assistant for the Weinstein Company, is one of the two women whose accusations are at the heart of the charges against Weinstein.

On 28 January, she testified that the film producer had allegedly forcibly performed oral sex on her at his Soho apartment in 2006.

Haley told the court how Weinstein had allegedly tried to kiss her and when she tried to walk away, he had pushed her into a bedroom and on to a bed. “Every time I tried to get off the bed he would push me back and hold me down,” she said. “At this point I realised what was happening. I’m being raped.”

Haley testified that she met Weinstein in her 20s in 2004 at the premiere of The Aviator and after they crossed paths again in 2006 at the Cannes Film Festival, he helped secure a job for her on the set of Project Runway.

She alleged that when she went to Weinstein’s SoHo apartment in 2006 for what she thought was a meeting to talk about her career, he pushed her on to a bed and forced his mouth onto her vagina. She said he continued even after she tried to get him to stop and told him she was on her period.

“It was as if he didn’t believe me,” she told the court, adding that he pulled out her tampon. “I was in so much shock at the time that I just checked out at that point. I just checked out and endured it because that was the only safe thing to do.”

Later that summer, she said she had met Weinstein at his hotel room in New York. She alleged that he took her hand and led her to the bed. Then she cried and just “laid there” while they had intercourse.

Weinstein allegedly called her degrading names such as “bitch” and “whore” which were “supposed to turn me on”. ”I was just lying there motionless and just saying, ‘I’m not a bitch, I’m not a whore’.”

Haley also testified that she had changed her surname from Haleyi because she wanted to be more generic after going public with her accusations against Weinstein at a news conference in 2017.

Dawn Dunning

Dawn Dunning told the jury that Weinstein allegedly screamed at her that she would never make it in the film business after she refused to have a threesome with him and his assistant.

“He was screaming,” she said. “He was a big guy, and he was towering over me. I was really scared.”

Dunning, then 24, had met the movie mogul at a Manhattan hotel in 2004 for what she thought was a business meeting about her career aspirations, she told the court. However, she said had been instead taken up to his hotel room by his assistant.

There, she allegedly found Weinstein waiting and dressed in what appeared to be nothing but a white bath robe.

Dunning testified that Weinstein, gesturing to three sets of documents, said to her: “Here’s contracts for my next three films. I’ll sign them today if you have a threesome with me and my assistant.”

When she laughed and turned to leave, she alleged that he then became aggravated and began screaming at her.

According to Dunning, he shouted: “You’ll never be part of this business. This is how the business works. This is how actresses got where they are.”

A few weeks before the alleged incident, Dunning said Weinstein had also summonsed her to a hotel and put his hand up her skirt.

“His hand went up my underwear, he was trying to put it in my vagina,” she said. When she stood up in shock, she recalled: “He started talking really fast. ‘It’s not a big deal, don’t make me feel bad about this, it’s not going to happen again’.”

Dunning first met Weinstein at a nightclub in Manhattan’s Meatpacking district where she was a waitress, she said. When they had started talking, she had revealed her career aspirations and she alleges he then told her he could help her break into the industry.

Breaking down several times during her testimony, Dunning said: “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done – I would not wish this on anyone.”

Tarale Wulff

Weinstein trial: Tarale Wulff

Tarale Wulff first met Weinstein in 2005, when she was a cocktail waitress at the members-only Cipriani’s Upstairs lounge, which regularly had high-profile clientele.

Wulff told the court that during their first encounter, the ex-producer had grabbed her arm and walked her through a back door and up some stairs to an unused terrace at the restaurant.

“He just directed me to stand in front of him,” she said. “I noticed that his shirt started moving, and I realized he was masturbating under his shirt. I froze for a second and then I threw the towel and ran past him.”

Wulff, then an aspiring actor, alleged that during a subsequent incident, she had she was going for an audition but had been bought to Weinstein’s New York apartment by the same assistant. There, she found him alone and he beckoned her into the bedroom.

“He took me by my arms and turned me around and put me on the bed and laid me back,” she said. “I told him, ‘I can’t.’ and he said, ‘Don’t worry, I had a vasectomy’. I froze.”

Wulffe said she was in shock, recalling that Weinstein was able to hold her down with his weight. “I just went blank… He put himself inside me and he raped me,” she said.

Wulffe said she never reported the alleged rape or told anyone. “I just wanted it to go away,” she said, crying in court. “It’s easiest for me just to pretend like it didn’t happen… and go back to work.”

Jessica Mann

Weinstein trial: Jessica Mann

Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial was abruptly suspended on Monday afternoon when one of the witnesses appeared to have a panic attack during her cross-examination, The Guardian reported.

After being grilled by Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, for more than four hours, Jessica Mann, one of the two main accusers, began sobbing uncontrollably and was unable to bring her breathing under control, seeing judge James Burke adjourn proceedings until the following day.

Mann alleges she was violently raped by Weinstein twice in 2013. She told the court on Friday that the movie mogul had coerced and threatened her into various sexual interactions, including having a threesome with a woman and, in another instance, urinating on her.

The once-aspiring actor described Weinstein’s personality like “Jekyll and Hyde”, saying he could be charming in public but often became angry behind closes doors.

In March 2013, she said, Weinstein had taken her up to a New York hotel room and raped her. Then eight months later, when she told him she was dating someone, he allegedly violently raped her again. Afterwards, she said, she had discovered a needle in the bathroom trash that contained a treatment for erectile dysfunction.

However, Mann become visibly distressed on Monday while being grilled by Rotunno, who “has a reputation for being a fearsome cross-examiner”, according to The Guardian.

Rotunno has painted Weinstein’s previous accusers as harbouring financial motives. She accused Mann of being a serial liar who manipulated Weinstein to get ahead in the industry.

Rotunno then instructed Mann to read out a long email she wrote to an ex-boyfriend in 2014, a year after the alleged rape, detailing her sexual relationship with Weinstein and what she believed to be his deformed genitals, as well as referencing unspecified prior sexual assault.

Asked why she “stuck around” after 2013, Mann said: “I engaged with my abuser because… he kept threatening me and it was always in my best interest. I wanted to know I was OK.”

Lauren Young

Lauren Young testified that Weinstein groped her in a Los Angeles hotel bathroom in 2013, The Guardian reported. The model said an acquaintance had invited her to the hotel, and she had gone in the hopes of showing Weinstein a script she was writing.

Young alleged Weinstein showed both women up to his hotel suite where the female acquaintance led her to the bathroom and closed the door, leaving Young alone with him. She said Weinstein had pushed her back against the sink, unzipped her dress and began to grope her as he masturbated. 

“I said ‘no, no, no’, the whole time; that I had a boyfriend; that I wasn’t interested,” she testified. “He’s carrying on with the conversation, ‘This is what all the actresses do to make it’.”

During Young’s cross-examination, Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, held up the white dress Young had been wearing that night. Young said she had not touched the dress since that night.

This story was originally published on 29 January 2020 and has been updated throughout.

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, seek confidential help and support with Rape Crisis.

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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