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Weinstein Lawyer Aims to Poke Holes in Annabella Sciorra’s Account

Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney sought to poke holes in Annabella Sciorra’s testimony on Thursday, highlighting her training as an actor in a bid to undermine her credibility.

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.

“In your movies you are a professional actress?” Rotunno asked on Thursday. Sciorra said she was. “As part of that job, you pretend to be someone you aren’t, is that fair to say?” Rotunno asked.

Sciorra said no, but Rotunno pressed on with the line of inquiry, getting her to concede that as an actor her job is “to convince an audience that you are whoever that character in that role is.”

On her direct examination earlier in the day, Sciorra had fought back tears as she recounted how Weinstein had raped her at her Gramercy Park apartment in the winter of 1993-94.

“I said ‘no, no’ but there was not much I could do at that point. My body shut down,” Sciorra testified. “And then it was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual.”

In going over the details of Sciorra’s account, Rotunno raised questions about decisions she had made along the way, including why she had opened the door to Weinstein without finding out who it was first.

“So you hear a knock, you’re in a nightgown and you don’t ask who is it?” Rotunno asked.

She also asked why she had not complained to her doorman about letting Weinstein up to her floor.

“I was devastated,” Sciorra said.

“Well, I’m sure you were but I’m asking questions,” Rotunno said.

She asked why Sciorra had not tried to get to her phone to call the doorman or 911 when she saw Weinstein coming at her.

“It happened very fast,” Sciorra answered. “Very fast. He just walked in. I didn’t know what was going on and then as he started coming toward me, I realized he was unbuttoning his shirt and then I started to back up to go into the bathroom.”

Sciorra had testified earlier that she didn’t report the rape because she knew Weinstein, and at the time she thought of rape as an attack by a stranger. Rotunno circled back to that, implying that Sciorra must have known what rape was.

“Ms. Sciorra, you were 33 years old at the time?” she asked. “Yes,” Sciorra replied.

Rotunno also asked about “Cop Land,” a Miramax film that Sciorra appeared in a few years later. Sciorra had testified that she was unaware that Weinstein’s company was producing it when she first got the script.

“When you were auditioning, as a seasoned actress, you didn’t ask the director and producer who was producing the movie?” Rotunno asked. Sciorra said no. She said she got the part, but turned down the initial offer, which she said was “very low.” She said she learned in the course of subsequent negotiations that Miramax was behind the film. She ultimately accepted the role.

“Ms Sciorra, why don’t you tell us how a seasoned actress at about 37 or 38 years old gets tricked into doing a movie you don’t want to do?” Rotunno asked. The prosecution objected, and the judge sustained the objection and broke for lunch.

As Sciorra testified, Rosanna Arquette and Mira Sorvino shared their support for her on social media.

“Today we are all @iamannabellasciorra & yet she is there alone standing in for all of us,” Sorvino wrote on Instagram. “Her courage, honesty & willingness to submit herself to the lies & intimidation Harvey Weinstein & team will throw at her define her as THE consummate American hero.”

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