Warning: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual assault.
More than 100 women have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault and harassment in the two and a half years since a pair of bombshell stories in the New York Times and the New Yorker exposed a long-running pattern of abusive, predatory, and retaliatory behavior from the movie mogul. Less than a year later, Weinstein was arrested in Manhattan on charges of rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse, and sexual misconduct. This past January, the one-time producer finally stepped into a Manhattan courtroom.
What he’s facing there is one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, one count of a criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The charges involve a former production assistant, Mimi Haleyi, and a former actor, Jessica Mann. Haleyi is accusing Weinstein of forcibly performing oral sex on her at his apartment in 2006, while Mann alleges that he raped her at a hotel in 2013. Weinstein claims he is innocent of the charges, and that all sexual encounters were consensual. He could face life in prison if found guilty of predatory sexual assault, the most serious of the charges.
These aren’t the only charges lodged against Weinstein. In December, he and the board of his bankrupt film studio settled with more than 30 accusers for $25 million. The deal did not, however, require Weinstein to admit any wrongdoing. The settlement money, meanwhile, would come not from Weinstein, but from insurers. According to The New York Times, $6.2 million would go to the 18 accusers who filed cases in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The rest is reserved for class-action participants and accusers who have yet to come forward.
On January 6, the day his New York criminal trial began, he was charged in Los Angeles with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in separate incidents in 2013. Weinstein also denies those charges, and a date for that trial has not been set.
Weinstein’s New York trial is expected to last through early March. Below, we’ve tracked the trial’s biggest takeaways via its most notable testimonies.
In October of 2017, Sopranos star Annabella Sciorra alleged that Weinstein raped her in 1993, then sought to harass and intimidate her in the aftermath. On January 23, she recounted these allegations under oath, testifying (per the New York Times) that Weinstein raped her in her Gramercy Park apartment following a business dinner. “He shoved me onto the bed,” Sciorra said. “As I was trying to get him off of me, I was punching him, I was kicking him... He got on top of me and he raped me.”
Later, she testified that the incident led her to excessive drinking and self-harm, and said that Weinstein continued to harass her in the following years. “I tried to talk to him about what happened,” she said. “And I told him how I woke up, and that I had blacked out, fainted, and he said, ‘That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say.’ Then he leaned into me and said, ‘This remains between you and I.’” She continued, “It was very menacing. His eyes went black, and I thought he was going to hit me right there.”
Rosie Perez, an actor and longtime friend of Sciorra, also testified, saying that Sciorra discussed the alleged rape with her.
Haleyi, a former production assistant who worked on Project Runway, testified on January 27 that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his SoHo home in 2006. “At some point, fairly soon into meeting him there, he kind of came towards me and lunged at me,” she said (per Vulture). “And also I tried to reject him. I mean, I did reject him, but he insisted,” she continued. “And every time I tried to get up off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down. Then he pushed me down, he held me down, he held me by my arms... And then I said, ‘No, no,’ and at that point I started realizing what was actually happening: I’m being raped,” she said.
Haleyi also testified that, in a separate incident, Weinstein initiated sex with her while calling her a “whore” and a “bitch.” Though she didn’t want to have sex with him, she testified, she “didn’t physically resist.” Weinstein is not being charged for anything regarding that incident.
Weinstein’s defense attorneys raised questions over Haleyi’s continued correspondence with the mogul, including trips to Los Angeles and London for which he paid. Saying she “buried” her memories of the assault, she responded, “I felt trapped and not really able to do anything about it... I decided to just almost pretend it didn’t happen and just put it aside and carry on as usual.”
Elizabeth Entin, a former roommate of Haleyi, backed up Haleyi’s account in testimony of her own.
Dawn Dunning, who first revealed her allegations of assault against the producer in 2017, testified on January 29 that she considered Weinstein a friend when they first met in 2004. After he invited her up to a SoHo hotel room to discuss her burgeoning acting career, however, that changed. “His hand went under my underwear, he was trying to put it in my vagina,” she said (via The Daily Beast). “I stood up, I was in shock. I was not expecting that to happen.”
Weeks later, after promising Dunning roles in three different movies, he offered to meet her in a public cigar bar. Instead, his assistant met Dunning in the lobby and directed her to Weinstein’s room, where the producer proposed a threesome with him and the assistant. Per Dunning, Weinstein told her that’s “how this industry works.” She continued, “He kind of cut to the chase and said, ‘Here is the contract for my next three films. I’ll sign them today if you have a threesome with me and my assistant... He got really angry and started yelling, ‘You’ll never make it in this business!’”
Lincoln Davies, a former boyfriend of Dunning, also testified, saying that Dunning was “pretty shocked, upset, angry and overall appalled” after meeting with Weinstein. “She ended up crying.”
Weinstein’s defense lawyers countered Dunning’s claims by noting the amount of media appearances she made after coming forward in 2017 and claiming she’s after “attention.” Dunning countered by saying she’s not “benefiting” from any of that attention. “If anything, I’m losing. I’m spending money, I’m spending time. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” she said.
Weinstein has not been charged with anything in relation to Dunning. As with Sciorra’s testimony, their experiences are being used to help show a pattern of abusive behavior.
In a similar situation is Tarale Wulff, a model who testified that Weinstein raped her and masturbated in front of her in 2005. They met when Wulff was working as a cocktail waitress at the SoHo restaurant Cipriani, and she testified that one night he pulled her to an unused roof terrace, where he began masturbating beneath his shirt. Wulff said that her manager “shut the door” behind them.
She avoided Weinstein the rest of the evening, but his assistant soon reached out to her with an opportunity to be cast in an upcoming movie. Soon after she arrived at an empty conference room, she was informed that Weinstein wanted to see her at his hotel. There, she said, he raped her.
“He took me by my arms and turned me around and put me on the bed and laid me back,” she said. When she protested, he told her he’d had a vasectomy. “He put himself inside me and raped me,” she said.
Mann, one of the woman filing criminal charges against Weinstein, testified on January 31 and February 1 that Weinstein raped her and performed forced oral sex on her in 2013. Her testimony also detailed how Weinstein would humiliate her, including by urinating on her. She did, however, admit that the pair were, for a time, in a relationship.
“I made the decision to be in a relationship with him,” she said. “And part of that was because I was sexual with very few people. I entered into what I thought was going to be a real relationship with him—and it was extremely degrading from that point on.”
Mann, who recounted a repressive upbringing in what she describes as a “cult,” claimed that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in a hotel room after they met at a party. During a subsequent meeting, during which he lured her into another hotel room, he blocked her exit, demanded she undress, and raped her. Mann testified that she was reluctant to separate herself from him out of fear for her father’s safety. “I had a fight with my dad once and he saw that I was upset… He said he’ll send two men there with bats,” she said, per USA Today.
“He would talk very dirty to me about fantasies and things, and compare me to other actresses that he said were doing kinky, dirty things with him,” she said of their relationship, claiming that he also wanted to film her but that she had not given him permission.
When she told Weinstein she was seeing someone, she says he reacted angrily and violently assaulted her again, drawing blood and orgasming in her mouth without her consent. Per her testimony, he told her, “Okay, now—now you can go have your relationship, and what you can do is you can bring me other girls.”
Per Vulture, Weinstein’s defense lawyers are attempting to portray Mann as “craven and flaky—casting her as an unsuccessful actress who had a consensual relationship with Weinstein to boost her lackluster career.” Mann also apparently had a consensual encounter with him in 2016, three years after the alleged assaults. Prosecutors countered the defense team by presenting multiple email exchanges that show her ignoring or declining to respond to his messages, presumably out of fear.
Mann was visibly upset during her testimony, which was postponed on February 3 after she had what’s been described as a panic attack. Weinstein reportedly fell asleep.
On February 10, the defense called a former roommate of Mann, Talita Maia, who lived with Mann during the time Weinstein was allegedly abusing her. Maia testified that Mann never told her that she had been assaulted, per Variety, and that Mann had called Weinstein her “spiritual soulmate.” Mann previously testified that she did not tell her friends about the abuse because it was her “deepest secret.”
Maia also testified that she was in Weinstein’s hotel room during one of the incidents of alleged sexual assault against Mann. Maia claims that Weinstein and Mann were only in the bedroom for “10 minutes” and that Mann appeared “normal” after leaving the bedroom. “She seemed normal, like nothing out of the ordinary,” she testified.
Lauren Young, an aspiring actor and screenwriter, testified on February 5 that Weinstein sexually assaulted in a Beverly Hills hotel room in February of 2013, per USA Today. After meeting him at an Oscars party in 2012, Young visited Weinstein’s room to discuss a script she was writing. Per her testimony, a friend of Weinstein’s, Claudia Salinas, managed to trap Young inside the bathroom with the producer, shutting the door.
Weinstein went on to strip and masturbate in front of her before pulling down her dress and groping her breast. “I just couldn’t believe what was happening to me, and I was really worried and scared that he was going to hurt me or something,” she said (via The Hollywood Reporter). “He starts coming closer to me, so I turned because I didn’t want to look at his naked body...I said, ‘No, No, No,’ the whole time.”
While he was masturbating, Young testified, Weinstein asked, “How am I going to know if you can act?”
Like Dunning and Wulff, Young’s testimony is meant to help establish a pattern in Weinstein’s predatory behavior.
On February 10, the defense called Salinas to the stand. According to The Guardian, Salinas flatly denied ever closing the bathroom door on Young. “If I had done that I would have remembered that—I have never done that at any time,” Salinas said. Salinas also denied allegations that she stayed in touch with Young in the aftermath in order to ensure Young stayed quiet.
A former producer and longtime friend of Weinstein, Paul Feldsher testified under subpoena on February 6, per Deadline. The defense hoped Feldsher, as an ex-friend of Sciorra, would serve to discredit her testimony. He claimed, for example, that Sciorra’s dependence on alcohol and prescription sedatives began before her encounter with Weinstein. He also said that she never described her encounter with Weinstein as rape to him, but rather a “crazy thing.”
The prosecution, meanwhile, scoured a slew of texts between Feldsher and Weinstein in which the former made a number of scathing comments about Sciorra and “the dogpile of actresses who are suddenly ‘brave’ recalling suppressed memories...” They also pointed out a text in which Feldsher promised loyalty to Weinstein. “Unless and until you make some kind of confession or are proven legally guilty,” he wrote, “I will continue to be the controversial-cum-inappropriate person who defends you.”
Feldsher was also grilled for making comments about Weinstein being a “sex addict,” though he later tried to walk that back by saying Weinstein simply had a “voracious” appetite for women.
On February 13, Weinstein’s lead attorney, Donna Rotunno delivered a closing argument that, in some ways, echoed her controversial comments about women needing to “take precautions” so as not to get sexually assaulted.
“The assistant district attorneys are the producers in this case, and they are writing the script,” she told the 12-person jury. “In their universe, women are not responsible for the parties they attend, for the men they flirt with, for the jobs they ask for help with.… In this script, the powerful man is the villain and he’s so unattractive and large that no woman would want to sleep with him voluntarily.”
Rotunno also declared that the prosecutors “failed to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” encouraging them to focus on the testimonies of Haleyi and Mann, as they are the only ones part of the indictment against Weinstein. “In the end, it comes down to those two,” she said. “If you don’t believe Miriam Haley or Jessica Mann, you don’t have to evaluate anything else. You don’t get to Annabella Sciorra if you don’t believe Miriam Haley.”
Rotunno also told the jury to set aside their “gut feelings” about Weinstein and to use their “New York City common sense.” She continued, “Every time you feel like emotion is taking over, remember that common sense when evaluating this evidence because it will guide you to the right answer.”
“You don’t have to like Mr. Weinstein,” Rotunno said. “This is not a popularity contest. The unpopular person needs you most.”
On February 14, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi delivered the closing argument for the prosecution, saying the case is about “power, manipulation, and abuse.” Using a PowerPoint presentation, Illuzzi then unpacked the myriad of ways she claims Weinstein used his clout to prey on women with promises of stardom across three decades.
“The universe is run by [Weinstein] so, therefore, they don’t get to complain when they’re stepped on, spit on, demoralized, and then, yes, raped and abused,” she said, per The Daily Beast. “He made sure he can contact the people he was worried about as a little check to make sure one day they wouldn’t walk out of the shadows and call him what he was: an abusive rapist.”
Illuzzi also pointed out how Weinstein’s M.O. remained the same in the accounts of each of the women. “Women who have never met each other and yet share facts that are so detailed,” Illuzzi said. “This is the way you are experiencing what these women experienced right along with them. This experience, which is so palpable, was shared by these women decades, decades apart.”
Responding to Rotunno’s remarks about a woman’s responsibility in instances of sexual assault, Illuzzi said there are “no blurred lines here” and that a woman should be able to go “unescorted to a man’s apartment and not suffer sexual assault.”