Defense attorneys for Harvey Weinstein continued to cross-examine his rape accuser Jessica Mann on Monday with questions designed to challenge both her motives and her feelings about the onetime mogul in the months and years following the alleged 2013 assault.
At one point during the cross-examination, defense attorney Donna Rotunno returned to Mann’s testimony from last week, in which the accuser described her revulsion at Weinstein’s physical appearance and poor hygiene.
“Had you met someone who looked like Mr. Weinstein who did not have his success or power, you would never have agreed to meet him?” Rotunno asked, repeatedly suggesting that Mann manipulated Weinstein and “lied” to him in order to gain access to industry parties and connections.
“Your entire relationship with Mr. Weinstein, you lied to him every singe time you made him believe you wanted to be there,” Rotunno said.
“For my safety, yeah,” Mann answered.
Mann is one of two accusers whose allegations against Weinstein make up the five felony counts for which Weinstein is currently on trial in Manhattan. Mann says she was first raped by Weinstein in 2013, and that she continued to see the producer until 2016 out of fear for her safety and her career.
But Rotunno repeatedly referenced seemingly friendly emails and ongoing encounters between Mann and Weinstein following both the 2013 rape and another alleged assault the following year.
“When your mother was in town, you wanted to introduce her to him, correct?” asked Rotunno, noting that Mann had emailed Weinstein that “I’d love you to meet my mom.“
Mann’s vivid, graphically detailed testimony in the New York trial on Friday depicted Weinstein as a physically repulsive, even genitally deformed, aggressor. On the witness stand today, she attempted to deflect Rotunno’s implications that she was a willing partner in a five-year relationship with the former Hollywood honcho.
“My mother was pressuring me really hard to meet him and I didn’t want her to meet him because I didn’t want to involve her in my life,” Mann said. “My mom made me feel like she was being judgmental…and I wanted to get her off my back.” Mann said her mother knew only that she and Weinstein had a professional relationship.
“You didn’t tell your mother that you think Harvey raped you?”
“My mother knew something was wrong.”
“But you didn’t tell your mother?”
“Of course not.”
“So you were lying to mom too.”
“I was lying to my mother, yes.”
Rotunno asked Mann often today about the health and substance of her career throughout the period, suggesting that the lack of auditions and roles called into doubt Mann’s concern for her professional life.
“You didn’t want him to ruin your acting career?” asked Rotunno, who then added, “In order to be a working actor, you have to book jobs, correct?”
“They come and they go,” said Mann. “There are periods of time where you work and you don’t work.”
Weinstein has maintained that all sexual encounters with all of his accusers have been consensual. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
Mann alleges that on several occasions beginning in 2013, Weinstein raped her orally and vaginally, a series of encounters that began with him demanding a massage at a suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills after the two had met there for dinner. Another assault, she says, occurred the following year at a New York hotel when she was visiting the city with two friends.
Just before breaking for lunch, Rotunno presented an email that Mann sent to Weinstein after the alleged 2014 New York assault. In the message, Mann told Weinstein how much she loved the film August: Osage County — which he’d invited her to — and how she was “happy to see his smile.”
“Would you consider that email manipulative, Ms. Mann?” asked Rotunno.
Mann conceded the point, saying that her “flattery” was “going above and beyond,” adding, “a lot of things were happening to me” and that she “felt safe on email.”
Her email statement, she said, was true in part: She loved August: Osage County.
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