Harvey Weinstein rape case: accuser questioned in court
A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein peppered a woman with questions on Wednesday about the lack of forensic evidence that the movie mogul raped her in 2013, or that he was even at the hotel where she says the assault took place.
« You don’t have any physical evidence to present to this jury that any of this happened, do you? » attorney Alan Jackson pointedly asked during cross-examination.
When Weinstein’s 70-year-old Los Angeles trial judge argued an objection to the question because it called for speculation, Jackson got more specific:
« Any pictures? »
« No, » the woman said softly.
» A video ? »
“No”, she replied, before adding: “Do you think someone after a rape makes a video? »
She began to cry softly as she answered « no » to a series of similar questions about whether she had evidence of bruises, scratches, cuts or handprints on Weinstein’s face holding her down, or whether she had been examined for sexual assault.
« Do you have physical evidence that you were even with Mr. Weinstein? » Jackson asked.
Her crying intensified as she replied, « I had his jacket, but I gave it away. »
The woman, model and actress who worked in Rome, is the first of Weinstein’s accusers to testify at trial and spent portions of three days on the witness stand.
Prosecutors presented photographs and other evidence that Weinstein and the woman were at the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival, which she had come to California to attend in February 2013.
But they have yet to produce anything that puts Weinstein at her hotel the night she says he forced her to perform oral sex on her bed and then raped her in her bathroom.
The woman only went to the police in October 2017, when women’s stories about Weinstein made him the central figure in the .MeToo movement.
She claims Weinstein left his jacket in the room and gave it to hotel staff, but no lost and found documents have been discovered to prove this.
Asked if the explosion of media stories surrounding Weinstein prompted her to go to the police, the woman repeated earlier testimony that she had already decided to file a report earlier in the year when she urged her teenage daughter to go to the authorities for sexual harassment. suffered at school.
The woman only goes by « Jane Doe 1 » to court. Her age and birthplace were also kept out of court proceedings, although she said her first language was Russian and she was living at the time with her three children in Italy, where she married with considerable wealth.
The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they come forward publicly.
Weinstein’s defense has tried to poke holes in her testimony and insist on inconsistencies in previous accounts she gave to police, prosecutors, a grand jury and in the first two days of her testimony. At the trial.
During graphic questioning, Jackson dwelled on the woman’s description in her initial police interview of the oral sex she said Weinstein forced her to perform. Jackson suggested that Weinstein’s unusual genital features after surgery he had years earlier made the acts she described impossible.
The same acts were not mentioned during her grand jury testimony in 2020, and Jackson asked her if she learned more about Weinstein’s sex organs from prosecutors and thus changed her story.
« Never! » she said emphatically.
When later questioned by the prosecution, she described « really bad scar tissue » around Weinstein’s genitals.
It was the first time jurors had heard from a witness about the anatomy of Weinstein, who came up often during his 2020 trial in New York, where he was convicted of rape and sexual assault and sentenced to 23 years in prison.
The woman told prosecutor Paul Thompson that she had had panic attacks and had barely slept or eaten since beginning to testify on Monday afternoon. It finally ended late Wednesday.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women.
When prosecutors made their opening statement on Monday, however, they ruled out one of the women, casting doubt on whether the four counts against her will be addressed at trial.
The district attorney’s office declined to explain when asked about the matter.
Weinstein’s attorneys said no charges were dropped.
Resources for victims of sexual assault in Canada
If you or someone you know is dealing with sexual assault or trauma, the following resources are available to support those in crisis:
If you are in immediate danger or fear for your safety, you should call 911.
A complete list of sexual assault crisis centers in Canada that offer information, advocacy and counseling is available at ReeseCommunity.com. Resources in your community can be found by entering your postal code.
Helplines, legal services and locations that offer sexual assault kits in Alberta, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia can be found here.
National Residential School Crisis Line: +1 866 925 4419
24 hour crisis line: 416 597 8808
Canadian Human Trafficking Hotline: +1 833 900 1010
Trans Lifeline: +1 877 330 6366
Sexual misconduct support for current or former members of the armed forces: +1 844 750 1648