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Harvey Weinstein's trial: What happened in Week 2

If the former Hollywood mogul is convicted, he could go to prison for the rest of his life.
Image: Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein exits the court following his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault, on Jan. 27, 2020, in New York.Michael Owens / AP

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By Daniel Arkin

The second week of Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial in New York featured more dramatic testimony and graphic allegations, forcing the former Hollywood mogul to come face-to-face with some of his accusers.

The prosecution continued to present its case showing Weinstein as a serial sexual predator who abused women over decades, wielding his power to silence his alleged victims. The defense team, for its part, tried to raise questions about accounts from witnesses, zeroing in on email correspondences they described as friendly.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty in the case and denies any allegations of nonconsensual sex. If he is convicted, he could go to prison for the rest of his life. Here's a look at some of the key moments and themes from this week in one of the watershed court cases of the #MeToo era.

Key accusers take the stand

The criminal charges at the center of the trial are based on allegations from two women: Mimi Haley, a former "Project Runway" production assistant, who alleges Weinstein performed forcible oral sex on her in 2006, and Jessica Mann, an aspiring actress, who alleges Weinstein raped her in 2013.

Haley took the stand Monday, sobbing as she described for jurors how the Oscar-winning producer behind "Shakespeare in Love" pushed her down and sexually assaulted her. She testified that she said "no, no, no" as he performed oral sex on her in his Manhattan apartment.

"I tried to reject him, but he insisted," Haley, who previously spelled her last name as Haleyi, said. "Every time I tried to get off the bed, he pushed me back and held me down."

Mann testified over several hours Friday, repeatedly breaking down crying as she recounted a series of unwanted sexual advances and described the alleged rape in detail. She told jurors that she believed Weinstein had injected his penis with medicine to induce an erection before he forced himself on her in a New York City hotel room.

'Prior bad acts'

New York law sometimes allows prosecutors to seek testimony from nonplaintiff witnesses about "prior bad acts," giving the jury context about a defendant's alleged motive and intent. Two women, known as "Molineux" witnesses, took the stand this week to help bolster the prosecution's portrait of Weinstein as a relentless serial abuser.

Dawn Dunning told jurors that Weinstein fondled her genitals in 2004 during what she thought would be a movie audition in a New York City hotel suite. Dunning, 40, testified that he later attempted to exchange film roles for three-way sex with him and one of his assistants.

Tarale Wulff testified that Weinstein raped her at his Manhattan apartment in 2005 after having lured her there with talk of a movie audition. Wulff, 43, fought back tears as she described for jurors how he ignored her pleas to stop.

Wulff's and Dunning's accounts followed last week's secondary testimony from "The Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who has accused Weinstein of raping her in her Manhattan apartment in the winter of 1993 or 1994. "Do the Right Thing" actress Rosie Perez backed up Sciorra's account.

Defense tries to poke holes

Weinstein's defense attorneys, who have insisted that all of their client's sexual encounters were consensual, have attempted to raise doubts about witness testimony. They have suggested that some accusers might have faulty memories and questioned why others waited to go public with their allegations.

In questions to Wulff during a cross-examination Wednesday, for example, Weinstein's lawyers sought to suggest her recollection could not be trusted because she revealed that a therapist had helped her fill gaps in her memory. Wulff's lawyer, Doug Wigdor, later told reporters that her recollection of being raped has never changed and that the therapist was helping her work through her trauma.

The defense has put a particular emphasis on what they have described as friendly emails sent by accusers. Damon Cheronis, one of Weinstein's attorneys, pointed to emails Haley sent the producer after her alleged assault, including one note in which she pitched him an idea for a television show and another note she signed "lots of love."

Haley, for her part, acknowledged that she kept in touch with Weinstein, testifying that he was a "very important figure" in the entertainment industry. "I decided to just almost pretend it didn't happen and put it aside."

'This is how the industry works'

Weinstein's trial has put a harsh spotlight on the ways the producer purportedly used his industry clout to intimidate his alleged victims, including claiming that his behavior was standard practice in Hollywood and making them feel he could derail their careers if they went public with their accounts.

In one notable example, Perez testified that Sciorra, whom she described as a close friend, told her in a phone conversation that Sciorra could not report her alleged rape to police because she believed Weinstein would "destroy" her.

Dunning, in another key moment, testified that she laughed when Weinstein suggested that he could land her roles in three movies if she agreed to have a threesome with him and his assistant. She told jurors she assumed he had a "crass sense of humor" and was simply making a joke.

"But when I started laughing, he got really angry and started screaming at me," Dunning testified. "He said, 'You'll never make it in this business. This is how the industry works.'"