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Minutes after Dawn Dunning finished telling the jury about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged behavior toward her in 2004, another onetime aspiring actress, Tarale Wulff, took the stand on Wednesday afternoon to accuse the former movie mogul of masturbating in front of her and then raping her in 2005.
Like Dunning, Wulff is one of four women who will testify as “prior bad acts” witnesses in the state’s case. Her claims are not part of Weinstein’s New York County indictment, but her testimony could support the accounts of the two charged witnesses: Miriam Haley, who testified on Monday morning, and Lauren Mann, who has yet to testify.
Wulff, who is now 43, was a cocktail waitress at the Cipriani’s Upstairs lounge when she met Weinstein, a regular patron who sat at the “owner’s table.”
During their first interaction, Wulff said that Weinstein grabbed her arm, walked her through a back door, took her up some stairs, and then led her to an unused terrace at the restaurant. “He just directed me to stand in front of him,” Wulff 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.”
On a later occasion, Wulff said she was brought to Weinstein’s New York apartment, ostensibly to read a script for a potential role. Weinstein appeared to be getting dressed at the time and the two engaged in light conversation, which brought her closer to the bedroom he was in.
“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.”
Wulff said she felt “numb” and decided it would be easier for her to “just get past it.”
“He put himself inside me and raped me,” Wulff said. “It was a shock.”
After the alleged sexual assault, Wolff did not call the police and did not tell anyone close to her.
“I just wanted it to go away,” she said.
On cross, Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lead attorney, questioned why Wulff would agree to be driven to an unknown destination. “You just threw caution to the wind and got into the car,” she said. “You got into the car with a stranger to see somebody whom you had just had a fairly unpleasant experience with.”
Rotunno also asked Wulff why she didn’t resist Weinstein’s sexual advance in his apartment. “Did you yell? Did you try to push him away?” she asked. “I didn’t push,” Wulff replied.
She also questioned Wulff’s account on Wednesday and how it differed from what she had told prosecutors in the past. “You didn’t say that he placed himself inside of you during the initial meeting [with prosecutors] in October 2017. You never said he put himself inside of you,” she said.
At another point, Rotunno suggested that Wulff had been told by the distract attorney’s office that her story was too fragmented to be used in the case. She characterized a doctor Wulff visited afterward as a “memory doctor,” a characterization the prosecution objected to. (Assistant Distract Attorney Meghan Hast clarified later that Wulff was told only that Weinstein couldn’t be charged because of the amount of time that had elapsed.)
On Wednesday morning, Dunning broke down several times when telling the 12 men and women of the jury that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2004 and then pressed her to have a threesome with him and his assistant in order to get three movie roles.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Dunning said of her testimony. “I would not wish this on anyone.”
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