Weinstein Trial Begins With 'Graphic,' 'Vivid' Detail

Prosecutor gives opening statement that is sometimes 'painful'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2020 3:34 PM CST
Weinstein Trial: Prosecutor Gives 'Graphic,' 'Painful' Opening Statement
A portion of the spectators' line fills the hallway outside the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Harvey Weinstein's trial has begun in New York. Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast on Wednesday gave an opening statement NBC News calls "lengthy and graphic" and the New York Times says included "vivid descriptions" of alleged sexual abuse by the 67-year-old movie mogul, who denies all allegations. He could be seen shaking his head when Hast said he "is not a harmless old man." Weinstein is charged with forcibly performing sex on production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 as well as with raping Jessica Mann in 2013 after meeting her at a party; her name has not previously been disclosed, CNN reports. Four other women are expected to testify as prosecutors seek to show a pattern of behavior, and Hast described the allegations of one of those women, actress Annabella Sciorra, in what Vulture describes as "painful detail."

After dropping her off at her apartment one night in 1993, Hast said, Weinstein returned and knocked on Sciorra's door. He forced his way in, started unbuttoning his shirt, ignored her pleas for him to leave, and backed her into the bedroom where he held her down and raped her, Hast said, ultimately leaving her passed out on the floor, her nightgown around her waist. Hast also said Weinstein injected erection medication into his genitals before raping Mann; attacked Haleyi as she "laid there ... like a dead fish"; masturbated while groping the breast of a model who will testify; and once showed up outside Sciorra's hotel room, uninvited, in his underwear holding baby oil and a videotape. In their opening statements, Weinstein's attorneys said Mann had a five-year consensual relationship with Weinstein, but prosecutors say that relationship was coerced. One lawyer said the defense team has "hundreds" of "friendly" and "loving" emails sent by accusers to Weinstein, even after the dates of the alleged assaults. (Read more Harvey Weinstein stories.)

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