Harvey Weinstein Trial: Choking Back Tears, Accuser Shares Graphic Rape Allegations

Jessica Mann
JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Jessica Mann delivered an emotional and explosive testimony in a packed New York City courthouse on Friday, alleging that Harvey Weinstein violently assaulted and raped her on multiple occasions.

“The more I fought, the angrier he got,” said Mann, who choked back tears at various points. “His anger scared me.”

Mann, who was a hairdresser and an aspiring actress at the time her path intersected with Weinstein’s, alleges that the movie mogul physically abused her after he became enraged when she told him she was dating another man. Mann says she first met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles, and began to move in his orbit after she gave him her number. They would meet for dinners, drinks, and trips to bookstores. Mann said she wanted his career advice, but the boundaries between the professional and the personal quickly blurred. At one meeting, Weinstein pressured Mann to give him a massage. At another, he forcibly performed oral sex after luring her to a hotel room on the premise that he wanted to cast her in a vampire movie. He also tried to convince her to engage in a threesome with another woman after they met at a party at Soho House, a posh members-only club.

Mann says she felt pressured to remain in a relationship with Weinstein even as he continued to force her to perform degrading sexual acts.

“He would talk very dirty to me about fantasies and things and compare me to other actresses who were doing kinky [things],” Mann said. “He always wanted to film me.”

“If he heard the word ‘no,’ it was like a trigger for him,” she said at another point.

Mann graphically described encounters with Weinstein, claiming he urinated on her, had poor hygiene and had blackheads on his back, while vividly describing his out-of-shape, naked body.

“He would say, ‘Do you like my big, fat Jewish d—?'” she said. At another point in her testimony, Mann said, “The first time I saw him fully naked, I thought he was deformed and intersex…He does not have testicles and it appears like he has a vagina.”

Weinstein required injections to maintain an erection, Mann claimed.

Attorneys for Weinstein have disputed Mann’s allegations and seized upon her acknowledgement that some of her encounters with the producer were consensual. They point to evidence that the two kept in touch after the alleged assaults, with Mann warmly emailing him over the years. Mann attempted to contextualize her friendly exchanges with Weinstein on the witness stand.

“I entered into what I thought was going to be a real relationship with him and it was extremely degrading from that point on,” she said.

“I tried to break off the actual relationship,” Mann added. “I stayed in contact with him for several reasons. I thought he was going to hurt my father.”

In cross examination, Weinstein’s lawyers implied that Mann wanted to be intimate with Weinstein because she felt he could advance her career.

“You could overlook his appearance because you wanted what Harvey Weinstein could offer you,” Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, said.

At another point, Rotunno was even more direct, implying that Mann was exploiting the producer’s attraction to her, and stating, “You were using Harvey Weinstein.”

Mann admitted that she did “role play” with Weinstein on occasion when his erectile dysfunction medication was not working.

“I did have compassion for him,” she said.

Weinstein’s lawyers also questioned how emotionally damaging Mann’s encounters with Weinstein had been by noting that she used his attempts to get her to participate in a threesome as the basis for a satiric blog post.

Before Mann took the stand, Damon Cheronis, an attorney for Weinstein, pushed for a mistrial, claiming that prosecutors had violated discovery rules.

“This is not a little issue, this is a big issue,” he said. “This is a striking example of the state unilaterally deciding what to turn over.”

Justice James Burke, who is presiding over the case, denied the defense’s motion.

Weinstein was outfitted in a gray suit and black orthopedic sneakers. He took notes during Mann’s testimony, and shuffled out of the courtroom using a walker as the day ended. Asked by a reporter if Mann’s description of his body as misshapen and deformed was accurate, Weinstein smirked.

“Yeah, perfect,” he said, pushing down a long hallway as cameras captured his labored movements.

Updated: 4:38 p.m. ET

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