17:16, January 27 259 0 theguardian.com

2020-01-27 17:16:04
'I realized I'm being raped': accuser gives tearful testimony at Weinstein trial

Miriam Haley, a former production assistant for the Weinstein Company, gave tearful testimony on Monday, the fourth day of the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein.

She described how the film producer allegedly assaulted her in 2006.

Haley told the court how in his New York apartment, Weinstein attempted to kiss her. She tried to walk away, she said, but he pushed her into a bedroom and on to a bed.

“Every time I tried to get off the bed he would push me back and hold me down,” Haley said, starting to cry, her hands to her eyes.

“At this point I realized what was happening. I’m being raped.”

Weinstein, 67, faces charges stemming from Haley’s accusation and that of another woman who says he raped her in 2013.

He faces two counts of rape, one of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman and two of sexual assault. Facing life in prison, he denies all charges. His lawyers say emails between Haley and Weinstein prove they had a consensual sexual relationship.

Haley was the second of six women slated to testify that Weinstein assaulted them. Last Thursday, the Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra described how the producer pinned her hands above her head as he raped her, then forcibly performed oral sex on her. The actor Rosie Perez testified on Friday that Sciorra detailed the alleged assault in a phone call in the early 1990s.

Haley told the court she changed her surname from Haleyi because she wanted to be more generic after she went public about Weinstein in October 2017.

She testified that she met the producer in 2004, at the European premiere of The Aviator. By 2006, she said, she was looking for work in New York. She was eventually invited to meet Weinstein in Cannes. When they met at a hotel, she said, Weinstein asked if she could give him a massage. She declined and offered to call for a masseuse. Weinstein insisted, she said, but she left shortly after.

“I was extremely humiliated and just felt very stupid that I had been so excited to go and see him, and that he treated me that way,” Haley said. “I waited until I left the hotel and I burst into tears.”

To her surprise, she said, Weinstein followed up, saying she could help with a TV show, Project Runway. After production wrapped up, Haley kept up contact.

After one meeting at Weinstein’s office, she told the court, she accepted an offer to take her back to her apartment. He asked if he could come upstairs. She declined.

Weinstein suggested Haley accompany him on a trip to Paris on his private jet.

“It was not really a professional invitation,” she said, adding that she eventually declined the offer.

Weinstein kept contacting Haley, she said, then showed up to her apartment unannounced. He said he “wouldn’t leave”. She went downstairs to meet him, she said, describing how he forced his way inside.

Haley said that inside her apartment, she ended up telling Weinstein: “You know, you have a terrible reputation with women.” He stepped back, looked offended and eventually left.

“I felt like he didn’t like me any more because of what I said,” Haley told the courtroom. “I was scared he didn’t like me as a person after that.”

That July, Haley said, she accepted an invitation to meet at Weinstein’s apartment in Soho. A driver picked her up, she said, and an assistant accompanied her in an elevator that led directly to the apartment. She sat on the couch and had a cordial conversation.

He started making advances, she said, attempting to kiss her and pushing her into a bedroom where he forcibly performed oral sex on her. She said she told him “no” multiple times and eventually said she was menstruating.

“It was as if he didn’t believe me,” she said, adding that Weinstein pulled out her tampon.

“I was in so much shock at the time that I just checked out at that point,” she said. “I just checked out and endured it because that was the only safe thing to do.”

Haley had a flight to Los Angeles the next day, booked by the Weinstein Company so she could attend a film premiere. Haley said a friend was due to give birth, so she went to Los Angeles but skipped the premiere. Weinstein was irritated she did not go to the premiere. She gave an excuse.

Later that summer, she agreed to meet Weinstein in New York.

“He was persistent and insistent and he convinced me to meet him again,” she said. When she arrived at his hotel room, she said, he took her hand and led her to the bed.

“At that point, I just thought, ‘Here we go again,’” she told the court, with a sigh. “I just felt like an idiot.”

Haley paused, starting to cry, and described how she just “laid there” as they had intercourse.

“I felt number. I felt number. I felt like an idiot and I felt number,” she said.

She recalled Weinstein calling her a “bitch” and a “whore” in a way that was “supposed to turn me on”, she said. “I was just lying there motionless and just saying ‘I’m not a bitch, I’m not a whore.’”

She said she did not tell anyone about that incident at the time because she was “deeply embarrassed” and blamed herself for letting it happen.

Weinstein’s defense team has said it plans to confront Weinstein’s accusers with their own words: messages exchanged with the producer well after the alleged assaults.

Haley told the jury she kept in contact with Weinstein after that summer, occasionally coming to him with an idea.

“I didn’t know how to deal with it,” she said. “It’s like I put it away in a box and pretended nothing happened and carried on as usual.”