Annabella Sciorra: Harvey Weinstein held me down, raped me

Carla Harmon
January 24, 2020

Harvey Weinstein was a "seasoned" sexual predator and rapist who abused his power as a movie-producing titan to prey on vulnerable aspiring actresses, prosecutors on Wednesday said as his trial heard from its first witness.

Weinstein, 67, is charged in NY with first-degree rape, two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of first-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree rape.

Weinstein's NY trial surrounds allegations that he forcibly performed oral sex on a woman in his apartment in 2006 and raped a budding actress in a Big Apple hotel room in 2013.

Sciorra's allegations date back too long to be prosecuted on their own, but her testimony could be a factor as prosecutors look to show that Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior.

Prosecutors hope Sciorra, as the first of the producer's alleged victims, will provide insight into Weinstein's approach to the women who came into his orbit over the years. If convicted, Weinstein faces life behind bars for rape. "Looking down at her shoes, old and worn, Miriam felt the weight of her situation", Hast said.

"I got very scared", she said. "She didn't know what to do about what happened to her at the ends of someone who has everything".

One of Hollywood's most powerful men, producer Harvey Weinstein, has been accused of sexually harassing and assaulting women over a number of years.

She alleged that Weinstein arrived early one morning at her Cannes Film Festival hotel room, wearing only his underwear with body oil in one hand and a videotape in the other.

Sciorra said she saw Weinstein several weeks later at a dinner and tried to confront him and told him how she fainted during the alleged attack.

Sciorra did not go to authorities because she feared reprisal from Weinstein, prosecutors said.

She said that roughly a month later, she ran into him and confronted him about what happened, and he replied: "That's what all the nice Catholic girls say".

Attorney Donna Rotunno had previewed that line of argument in a CNN interview before the trial, which prompted the prosecution to accuse her of disparaging the witness.

The jury of seven men and five women listened keenly and took notes on her testimony.

"He had intercourse with me as I tried to fight, but I couldn't fight anymore because he had my hands locked", she told the NY jury of seven men and five women.

"But when you vote out an indictment based on a particular incident, obviously Sciorra is going to be able to come into court and testify about it", she added.

"At the time, I didn't understand that that was rape", said Sciorra. The actress said she remembered having only a glass of wine with dinner and had kicked a Valium habit that developed after Weinstein sent her pills.

Ms Sciorra hit the big time with a leading role in Spike Lee's 1991 film Jungle Fever and the following year she starred in The Hand That Rocks The Cradle. She later appeared in a few episodes of "The Sopranos".

The actress went on to explain she didn't report the assault to police officials because she wasn't clear what constituted a rape crime - and she had conflicted feelings about Weinstein. "I thought he was an OK guy". Meghan Hast used at times cringe-inducing language to describe the experiences six women say they suffered at Weinstein's hands.

Two other women, including a Pennsylvania native whose allegation is part of the basis of criminal charges Weinstein faces in Los Angeles, will also testify.

Sciorra later acted in another Weinstein-produced picture, 1997′s "Cop Land", though she said she didn't realize when auditioning that his studio was involved. "I felt confused. I felt like I never should have opened the door".

Cheronis was quick to contend that the women's descriptions had gone largely unchallenged and told the jury that the defense planned to scrutinize their tales in a respectful manner, pushing back on criticisms that the mogul's counterarguments will consist of "victim shaming".

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