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On Friday morning, the jury heard emotional and vivid testimony from Jessica Mann, who alleged that Harvey Weinstein forced oral sex on her and raped her in 2013, when she was a fledging actress hoping to get her big break from the movie mogul.
Like Miriam Haley, who testified on Monday morning, Mann’s allegations are part of Weinstein’s indictment in New York County on charges of sexual assault and rape. The prosecution has endeavored to back up their claims with the testimony of four “prior bad acts” witnesses: Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young, who is expected to testify early next week.
After being introduced at a party in Los Angeles, Weinstein and Mann met up for drinks at a hotel bar. When Weinstein fretted that he was being noticed by fellow patrons, he moved the meeting to his room. Once inside, he asked Mann if he could give her a massage. She chose to give him one instead.
“I was a little stunned,” she said. “I didn’t want to go up there, but I thought I was helping him get away from all the public attention he was getting. I didn’t have a reason to sense anything bad was coming. It was odd. It was odd.”
Despite this interaction, Mann still believed that Weinstein was interested in her as an actress — “naively,” as a prosecutor said last week. “He made me feel stupid for why I thought it was a big deal,” she said of the massage incident.
After another hotel bar meeting with Weinstein, Mann went up to his room with her friend, at which time she alleges that he forced unwanted oral sex on her.
In March 2013, Mann agreed to have a breakfast meeting with Weinstein and one of her friends at the DoubleTree hotel in midtown Manhattan. To her surprise, Weinstein showed up early to the hotel and booked a room. Once inside his room on his request, Weinstein demanded that she take off her clothes, and then, she told the jury, he got on top of her and penetrated her.
“I gave up at that point and I undressed and he stood over me until I was completely naked,” Mann testified. “And, once I was naked and laid on the bed, he went into the bathroom and sort of closed the door behind him. The door was still kind of open a little bit. And then he came out naked, and then he got on top of me and that’s when he put himself inside me. His penis inside me.”
Mann said that Weinstein was “sharp and angry” in ordering for her to undress, “like a drill sergeant.”
A few months later, in November 2013, Mann says that Weinstein raped her again after she told him that she had a boyfriend. She says he claimed that she “owed him one more time,” sexually.
Throughout her testimony, Mann described Weinstein’s body in graphic and specific detail. “The first time I saw him fully naked, I thought he was deformed and intersex,” she said. “He has extreme scarring that I didn’t know if he was a burn victim, but it didn’t make sense. He does not have testicles and it appears that he has a vagina.”
After the prosecution makes their case to the jury, the defense is expected to argue that Mann’s relationship with Weinstein was consensual, as evidenced by the emails she sent him. In one, she wrote: “I love you, always do. But I hate feeling like a booty call.”
“The evidence will show the complaining witnesses sent dozens and dozens of loving emails to Harvey Weinstein,” Weinstein lawyer Damon Cheronis said during opening statements last Wednesday, Jan. 22.
Mann, when questioned by the prosecution, discussed her thinking. “I tried to break up the actual relationship very soon,” she said. “I stayed in contact with him for several reasons. I thought he was going to hurt my father. I had a fight with my dad once and he saw that I was upset and he said he had guys with bats and he would send those guys with bats.”
After additional prosecution witness testimony on Monday and Tuesday of next week, into Wednesday, Weinstein’s lawyers are expected to present their witnesses next Thursday and Friday.
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