NEW YORK – Sobbing former production assistant Mimi Haleyi told jurors Monday at Harvey Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial how she tried to fight off the former movie mogul and told him “no, no, no” while he sexually assaulted her.
“I did reject him, but he insisted,” said Haleyi, one of the two women whose accusations are the basis of the five charges against Weinstein. “Every time I tried to get off the bed he would push me back and hold me down.”
Haleyi testified she thought: “I’m being raped” and considered different options. “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she said before she “checked out.”
“I couldn’t get away from him at all, let alone get away,” Haleyi said. “I checked out and decided to endure it. That was the safest thing I could do.”
Haleyi also testified the formerly powerful producer was “offended” by her earlier rebuffs to his repeated advances. She said Weinstein once showed up at her apartment and begged her to join him on a trip to Paris for a fashion show. She said he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“At one point, because I just didn’t know how to shut it down so to speak. … So I said, ‘You know you have a terrible reputation with women, I’ve heard,’” Haleyi said.
The then-revered Hollywood honcho “got offended,” she said. “He stepped back and said, ‘What have you heard?’”
Haleyi says Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his apartment in Soho in July 2006. She went there in a car he sent, she said, after he invited her for what she thought would be a meeting to discuss whether he had work for her on his productions.
Instead, he pushed her on a bed and sexually assaulted her despite her telling him no, she said.
Haleyi went public with her accusations more than two years ago when she appeared at a press conference in New York with her lawyer, Gloria Allred (who has been observing the trial), in October 2017, shortly after the deluge of accusations against Weinstein began in the wake of media exposés of his alleged sexual misconduct dating back decades.
Haleyi, who met Weinstein in 2004 at a London movie premiere and later ran into him at Cannes in 2006, has said she was aware of Weinstein’s alleged bad reputation with women and turned down various invitations from him, including a request for a massage, according to the opening statement by Manhattan District Attorney Meghan Hast.
On the night in question, Hast described the “110-pound” Haleyi as “no match for the 300-pound Weinstein.”
Weeks later, Hast said, Haleyi went to a hotel room to meet Weinstein because “she saw no way out.” She said Haleyi was sexually assaulted again, although Haleyi didn’t mention this subsequent encounter in 2017.
“Even after that second encounter, she didn’t manage to completely cut Harvey Weinstein out of her life,” Hast said. She was “feigning everything was fine” and that they had “a normal professional relationship” but “she found her voice in October 2017.”
Monday’s developments followed two full days of witness testimony last week, when prosecutors called the first Weinstein accuser among the half-dozen expected to testify, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, to the stand.
Sciorra wept as she testified Thursday that Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment in the winter of 1993-94, describing the encounter in graphic detail. After she confronted him about it weeks later, she said he told her in a “menacing” way not to tell anyone about it.
On Friday, prosecutors also called forensic psychiatrist Barbara Ziv to testify about “rape myths” and “rape trauma” to help explain why accusers might delay coming forward for years and why they might remain in contact with their assailants.
On Friday afternoon, prosecutors called actress Rosie Perez to back up Sciorra’s testimony that she told her friend Perez, and only Perez, about Weinstein’s alleged attack a few months later.
Perez said Sciorra called her at some point in 1993 to say that something had happened to her: “I think it was rape,” Perez quoted her saying through tears. Sciorra didn’t say who until later when she told Perez it was Weinstein, Perez testified.
Also on Friday, Sam Anson, an executive at Guidepost Solutions, a private investigations firm, took the stand to testify that the besieged movie producer contacted him in 2017 and gave him a “red flag list” of people, including accusers Rose McGowan and Sciorra, who he feared might extort him.
McGowan was one of Weinstein’s earliest accusers, whose accusation that he raped her years ago led to the media accounts in 2017 that described decades of alleged sexual misconduct by Weinstein.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with five sex crimes, including rape and sexual assault, stemming from encounters with Haleyi and another woman, Jessica Mann, who says Weinstein raped her in 2013. She is expected to take the stand.
Three other accusers also are expected to testify about what they say Weinstein did to them, although their accusations have not been charged either because they’re too old or they didn’t occur in New York.
These witnesses, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young, are being called by prosecutors to back their assertion that Weinstein engaged in a pattern of alleged prior bad acts.
He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all nonconsensual sex. He has been charged with similar sex crimes in Los Angeles; that case is on hold until the New York case is resolved.
Contributing: The Associated Press