Jessica Mann delivered an emotional and explosive testimony in a packed New York City courthouse on Friday, alleging that Harvey Weinstein violently assaulted and raped her on multiple occasions.
“The more I fought, the angrier he got,” said Mann, who choked back tears at various points during her testimony. “His anger scared me.”
Mann, who was a hairdresser and an aspiring actress at the time her path intersected with Weinstein’s, alleges that the movie mogul physically abused her after he became enraged when she told him she was dating another man. Mann says she first met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles, and began to move in his orbit after she gave him her number. They would meet for dinners, drinks, and trips to book shops. Mann said she wanted his professional guidance, but the boundaries between the professional and the personal quickly blurred. At one meeting, Weinstein pressured Mann to give him a massage. At another, he forcibly performed oral sex after luring her to a hotel room on the premise that he wanted to cast her in a vampire movie. Mann says she felt pressured to remain on friendly terms with Weinstein even as he continued to force her to allow him to perform sex acts.
“He would talk very dirty to me about fantasies and things and compare me to other actresses who were doing kinky [things],” Mann said. “He always wanted to film me.”
“If he heard the word ‘no ‘it was like a trigger for him,” she said at another point.
Mann graphically described encounters with Weinstein, claiming he urinated on her, had poor hygiene and blackheads on his back, and vividly describing his out of shape naked body.
“He would say ‘do you like my big fat Jewish d**k?'” she said.
Attorneys for Weinstein have disputed Mann’s claims and argue that their sexual relationship was consensual. They point to evidence that the two kept in touch after the alleged assaults, with Mann warmly emailing him at various points. Mann attempted to contextualize her behavior on the stand.
“I entered into what I thought was going to be a real relationship with him and it was extremely degrading at that point,” she said.
“I tried to break off the actual relationship,” Mann added. “I stayed in contact with him for several reasons. I thought he was gonna hurt my father.”
Before Mann took the stand, Damon Cheronis, an attorney for Weinstein, pushed for a mistrial, claiming that prosecutors had violated discovery rules.
“This is not a little issue, this is a big issue,” he said. “This is a striking example of state unilaterally deciding what to turn over.” Justice James Burke, who is presiding over the case, denied the defense’s motion.
As Mann spoke for nearly two hours, lawyers for Weinstein repeatedly raised objections. They were particularly upset that a friend of Mann’s is not being called to the stand because she contradicts her portrait of her relationship with Weinstein.
Mann began sobbing loudly towards the end of her testimony, at which point, prosecutor Joan Illuzzi suggested the court take a lunch break.
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