A key accuser at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial returned Tuesday to the witness stand, a day after she became so upset while being questioned by the movie mogul’s lawyers that the judge suspended her cross-examination.
Subdued and sombre in her third day testifying about her complex relationship with the once-powerful movie mogul, the woman stared at jurors and said, “I want the jury to know that he is my rapist.”
The woman is expected to be on the stand much of the day as Weinstein’s lawyers continue a painstaking review of her emails and other communications. They say that evidence paints the 34-year-old former aspiring actress as a manipulative liar who gritted her way through sexual encounters with Weinstein because she enjoyed the perks of knowing him.
The woman broke down crying Monday while reading an email passage about being abused earlier in her life. It was part of a lengthy confessional email she sent to her then-boyfriend in May 2014 about her relationship with Weinstein.
The judge adjourned court about an hour earlier than usual Monday once it became clear the woman couldn’t continue.
The Associated Press typically does not publish the names of people alleging sexual assault unless they give their consent. It is withholding the name of the 34-year-old woman because it isn’t clear if she wishes to be identified publicly.
Resuming questioning on Tuesday, Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno revisited the woman’s email to her boyfriend, as well as emails she sent to Weinstein after she alleges the film producer raped her at a New York City hotel in March 2013.
The woman alleges Weinstein raped her again eight months later at a Beverly Hills hotel where she worked as a hairdresser. She said Weinstein attacked her after she told him she was dating an actor.
Among the emails Rotunno highlighted was one the woman sent Weinstein in 2014 about meeting up for a drink in Los Angeles.
Testifying Tuesday, she said she couldn’t remember if she ended up meeting him, saying she often made up excuses, so she didn’t have to follow through with their plans.
In 2015, after accepting Weinstein’s invitation to an Oscar party, she posted online: “Oscar time. About to get crazy.” Asked by Rotunno if she wrote that because she was excited about it, the woman responded: “Yes. The parties were fun.”
At one point, Rotunno asked the woman why she would accept favours from “your rapist.” That’s when the woman turned to jurors and said: “I want the jury to know that he is my rapist.”
Weinstein, 67, is charged in New York with the 2013 rape and also sexually assaulting Mimi Haleyi, a former Project Runway production assistant, in 2006. A conviction could put him behind bars for the rest of his life.
He has insisted that any sexual encounters were consensual.
Earlier in the day, jurors heard from another supporting witness: an actress who testified that she felt pressured into having a awkward three-way sexual encounter with Weinstein and the woman he’s charged with raping.
Emanuela Postacchini was called to testify out of order over the objections of Weinstein’s lawyers, who argued the testimony was irrelevant because there’s no evidence he forced himself on either woman on that occasion.
Prosecutors said they were calling Postacchini before resuming the rape accuser’s cross-examination because she had to go to Los Angeles for a Wednesday audition.
Postacchini testified that in February 2013, Weinstein had her meet him and the rape accuser at a Los Angeles-area hotel, where he tried to persuade the women to have sex with him.
Postacchini said during the encounter, Weinstein’s accuser went into the bathroom and was “crying in the fetal position on the ground.”
On cross-examination, Weinstein lawyer Damon Cheronis repeatedly asked if Weinstein forced either woman to do anything and each time she responded that while she personally didn’t feel forced to do anything, “the situation was forced.”