In a fiery display of courtroom theatrics, Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney aimed to poke holes in Jane Doe #2’s account of an alleged 2013 sexual assault by zeroing in on the timeline and specific details pertaining to her accusations.
Tuesday’s cross-examination was the most animated courtroom session thus far in Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial. In an effort to dramatically act out parts of Jane Doe #2’s story, while picking it apart, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Alan Jackson, pounded on the podium at one point and pushed a chair across the floor at another. It was the most visible reaction seen from Weinstein, who laughed at his attorney’s commentary one time, and later, shook his head in disagreement with the woman testifying.
Lauren Young — who is known in this case as Jane Doe #2 — has alleged that Weinstein masturbated in front of her and groped her breasts after cornering her in a hotel bathroom during a business meeting that was planned to take place in a hotel lobby. Young also previously testified during Weinstein’s New York trial in 2020.
During cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney, Jackson, pulled specific statements from Young’s previous interviews with detectives and prodded into the minutia of her allegations, which he said have differed through the course of time. Young responded by explaining “when you are sexually assaulted, things get blocked out,” so she remembers “bits and pieces,” but through her various interviews with authorities, she was able to remember more clearly.
“It was traumatic and it’s a memory that I have that I wish never happened,” she said of the alleged assault. “There are parts I will never be able to forget.”
“I know that’s your story,” Jackson said, at one point, prompting Young to shoot back, “It’s not a story. It’s what happened to me,” as Weinstein shook his head from the defendant’s table.
Jackson pointed out, for instance, that Young had told detectives she was “trapped” inside a sliding bathroom door in the hotel where she says she was assaulted. Jackson showed the jury photos that pictured the door on a hinge — not sliding — and asked Young a series of questions surrounding these details.
“Do you want to change your statement about being trapped and locked in that bathroom?” Jackson asked. “You’re describing a full-blown kidnapping, right?”
“I felt locked in there — I was describing how I felt,” Young said. Jackson fired back, ““You felt that you were locked in there, but you were not locked in there. You felt that you were being sexually assaulted, but you were not.”
“I was definitely sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein,” Young said.
The judge shot down that line of questioning from Jackson. At another point, prosecutor Paul Thompson asked Jackson to stop interrupting Young and to let her finish her responses.
Young initially did not remember the name of the hotel, Jackson pointed out, and had originally told detectives she only recalled that her alleged assault occurred at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., but not the Montage specifically. When authorities brought her to the Montage, she said “by walking through that room,” she “got to relive” her trauma,” as memories came flooding back to her.
“And since then, your testimony and your statements have gotten far more detailed and far more colorful, right?” Jackson questioned. “You had no idea what hotel this had even taken place at?” Jackson asked, adding that Young seemed to have forgotten “details like the year that it happened and the place where it happened.”
Young said that while specific details might be murky — such as the type of door in the bathroom, whether it was locked and the name of the hotel — she remembers the key events of the alleged assault.
“You knew that you were disclosing an assault against a very, very, very famous man?” Jackson prodded Young.
“I was sure I was sexually assaulted,” she responded. “I gave the best of my memory, at the moment.”
In Young’s testimony, she said that Weinstein had undressed himself and gotten into a shower so quickly that she was unable to process what was happening. She said when she tried to leave the bathroom, Weinstein had blocked her. “Everything happened so fast,” Young said earlier on the stand. “I was in so much shock…I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.”
In an effort to display the speed at which Weinstein could have undressed, Jackson took off his suit jacket in the courtroom, seemingly intending to show the jury that if Weinstein was wearing a suit, there would be many steps to fully undress, which would be in stark contrast to Young’s testimony that Weinstein had taken all of his clothes off at a rapid pace.
“Was he wearing a suit like mine?” Jackson asked. “It definitely wasn’t the same size,” Young responded, garnering laughter from the gallery.
In an effort to mimic how long it might have taken Weinstein to undress, Jackson took off his suit jacket. “I’m not going to go any further. Don’t be scared,” Jackson told Young, taking off his jacket. “Please don’t,” she said to the attorney.
Jackson also asked about the dress Young was wearing the night of the alleged incident. She testified that Weinstein had unzipped her dress, pulled it down and groped her breasts. She had turned over the dress to authorities, and it was brought into the courtroom as evidence. Jackson asked why she never told detectives about the button on the dress above the zipper. “How about this little button?” He said. “You didn’t mention that he unbuttoned it.”
Like many of the other witnesses that Weinstein’s defense has cross-examined, Jackson questioned why Young had continued communication with The Weinstein Company after the alleged assault. Young explained that she was scared of retaliation, which is why she took a meeting with one of Weinstein’s executives and also responded to an email regarding Weinstien’s Oscars party invitation — but, Young was certain to note that she never attended the party. She also made clear that she never saw Weinstein again.
As is the case with each woman testifying in the trial, Jackson questioned why there was a delay in reporting to the police. Young explained that she was “paranoid” that Weinstein was so powerful, he could have had connections with the police. “I thought he could have me killed,” she said.
“You believed he would murder you?” Jackson asked. Young responded, “I didn’t know what he was capable of.”
Following Young’s cross-examination by Weinstein’s defense, her attorney, Gloria Allred, issued a statement to the Variety, praising her client as a “hero.”
“I was very proud of my client today,” Allred said, in part. “She was subjected to hours of nit-picking cross-examination, and attempts by the Harvey Weinstein defense team to undermine and discredit her testimony. In my opinion, she held up very well, and was neither undermined nor discredited in any meaningful way.”
The attorney and women’s rights activist noted that Young is the only witness who testified in both New York and Los Angeles against Weinstein. “Testifying twice in two separate trials presents many more challenges than victims who are testifying just once face,” Allred stated. “She underwent all of this for one reason and one reason only: she wants justice to be done.”
“Soon it will be up to the jury to make their decision, and we are looking to them to do the right thing,” Allred’s statement continued. “Whatever they decide, my client is a hero. She told her truth and continued to assert without any hesitation that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her in the bathroom at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.”