The prosecution rested in Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes trial on Thursday, following the questioning of his last accuser, model Lauren Young.
Weinstein could potentially face life in prison if convicted of rape and predatory assault, crimes the Hollywood super-producer says he did not commit despite a large amount of evidence against him. On Thursday, six women took the stand to testify against Weinstein, including #AnnabellaSciorra, #MiriamHaley, #JessicaMann, and other supporting witnesses.
The first to speak was Sciorra, who accused Weinstein of rape or sexual assaulting, which the actress said happened in the winter of 1993-94, three years after she first met Weinstein. Sciorra said the assault took place when the producer gave her a ride home after a dinner party. The woman said Weinstein reappeared at her door after dropping her off, forced his way into her apartment, shoved her onto the bed, and raped her. She said Weinstein then forcibly performed oral sex on her despite her objections. “This is for you,” he told her, according to Sciorra.⠀
Weinstein’s defense questioned how the producer got past Sciorra’s doorman and up to her apartment without her knowing, and focused on why she never reported the incident to police. The harassment continued, according to the woman, who said Weinstein attempted to assault her again during the 1997 Cannes Film Festival in France. She said she found Weinstein in her hotel “in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a videotape in the other.”
From Weinstein’s defense team came with testimony from ICM agent-turned-producer #PaulFeldsher. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Feldsher was questioned on his “constant communication” with Weinstein and his loyalty to the mega-producer. He testified about his alleged close friendship with Sciorra. He claimed Sciorra told him that “she’d done this crazy thing with Harvey Weinstein.” “My understanding was that she fooled around with him. … If it was something of that nature, I can’t imagine I wouldn’t have pursued it,” he said.
He continued, “This was somebody I knew that was in trouble, and I was speaking to him partially because nobody else was, so I was talking to him,” Feldsher said. “I felt badly that he was completely abandoned. I felt badly that it was going to be very difficult for him to get due process. … It was a horrible time for him. … I felt that he merited compassion like anybody does.” He added that Weinstein had a “voracious appetitive” for sex and “dated a lot of women.”
Feldsher was also questioned on the text message conversation between him and Weinstein, in which he alluded to Weinstein’s predatory actions. “If a lot of those girls had been my daughter, I would have wanted to beat the shit out of you,” he message to Weinstein reads. In response, Feldsher said “I was trying to be a friend and say, ‘I know the extremes of your personality, the extremes of your appetite.’” He added, “I am learning a lot now, and I had no idea my text messages would end up in the courtroom.” “I stand by every text that I wrote,” Feldsher said.
THR reports that in one email that was presented to the jury, Feldsher told Weinstein, “I am loyal to you, Harvey. I will always have your back if you call on me.”
Another one of Weinstein’s accusers, Haley, said Weinstein sexually assaulted her when she was a production assistant. Haley said that on July 10, 2006, the producer pushed her into a bedroom and onto a bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her while she was menstruating. She claimed he removed her tampon during the alleged assault, and she repeatedly told him to stop. “I couldn’t even get away from him at all, let alone get out of the apartment,” she said. “Ultimately, after a while, I just checked out and decided to endure it. That was the safest thing for me to do at that point.”
The supporting witness included several other women who contributed their testimony under the “Molineux Rule,” NPR.org reports. According to the publication, the provision limits the type of evidence that is usually allowed at trial when it is not directly related, however, judges will sometimes admit more accounts if they show a pattern of behavior. Philadelphia prosecutors reportedly used this tactic when convicting Bill Cosby back in 2018.
Weinstein, 67, has been charged with five sex crimes, including rape and assault. He has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of non-consensual sex, USA Today reports.