A Mexican model denied that she had lured a woman to Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room, where the woman alleges that Weinstein sexually assaulted her.
Claudia Salinas, a model and dancer, took the stand on Monday to testify for Weinstein’s defense.
She contradicted the testimony of Lauren Young, who told jurors last week that Weinstein led her into the hotel bathroom and Salinas had shut the door behind them.
“I would never close the door on anybody, ever,” Salinas told jurors. “That never happened.”
Young testified last Wednesday that she had met Weinstein through Salinas, and had gone to a bar at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills in February 2013 to meet both of them and pitch Weinstein on a script. At some point, Weinstein suggested they go up to his room to continue the conversation. Young said that once she was trapped, she began to panic.
“I was really worried and scared that they were going to hurt me or something,” Young said.
She alleged that Weinstein pulled down her dress and groped her breast while he masturbated. Once he was finished, Young said she escaped as quickly as she could, giving Salinas an “evil look” on the way out.
Salinas testified that they met for drinks, but she said she had no memory of a script. She also said she had no memory of going to the room with Young and Weinstein. The defense showed her photos of the hotel corridor and the suite, and she said she did not recognize the location.
On cross-examination, Salinas said that Weinstein had a “strong personality,” and acknowledged that he wanted her to bring attractive women to parties.
“If I was going to an event, he would say bring your good-looking friends,” she said, adding as an aside, “All my friends are good-looking.”
She said that Weinstein was flirtatious with her, but she was not interested in a sexual relationship.
“I told Mr. Weinstein to f— off,” she testified.
Assistant D.A. Meghan Hast asked Salinas if acknowledging that she had shut the door on Young “wouldn’t be good for your career.” The defense objected, and the judge did not allow Salinas to answer.
Earlier on Monday, the defense called Talita Maia, a model who was a roommate of Jessica Mann, who has accused Weinstein of rape. Maia testified that Mann never told her that Weinstein had assaulted her, and that Mann had in fact referred to Weinstein as her “spiritual soulmate.”
As testimony concluded on Monday, the defense asked permission to call a surgeon who could testify about Weinstein’s back condition. Weinstein has typically come to court with the aid of a walker, and there has been widespread speculation that he is exaggerating his condition to engender sympathy. Justice James Burke denied the defense request.
The defense is expected to rest on Tuesday. The court will have an off day on Wednesday, and closing arguments will be held later in the week. The jury is expected to begin deliberating on Feb. 18, following the Presidents Day holiday.