The prosecution in the Manhattan rape trial of Harvey Weinstein rested its case just before lunch today following a morning of largely uneventful, if occasionally vivid, loose-end-tying testimony that stood in contrast to the more dramatic and emotional displays of the last couple days.
The tenor could change this afternoon, though, when Weinstein’s defense begins calling its own witnesses, one of whom is expected to be film and TV director and writer Warren Leight. Best known for his work on work on TV’s Law & Order franchise, Leight is expected to testify about his experience directing Annabella Sciorra in the 1993 film The Night We Never Met.
Earlier in this New York Supreme Court trial, which began January 6, Sciorra tearfully told jurors that Weinstein raped her at her Manhattan apartment in late 1993 or early 1994. Her longtime friend and fellow Brooklyn native Rosie Perez confirmed that Sciorra told her about the rape around that time — at first withholding the identity of her attacker.
Though Sciorra’s allegations are not part of this trial per se, her testimony, along with that of several other women, is being presented by prosecutors to help establish Weinstein’s pattern of sexual assault to bolster the cases of the trial’s two primary accusers, Jessica Mann and Miriam Haley.
Weinstein’s defense lawyers suggested today that they’ll call Leight to the stand to counter Sciorra’s claim that that the actress’ drinking and drug abuse problems started only after her alleged rape by Weinstein. Leight is expected to testify about his experience working with the actress prior to the alleged Weinstein incident.
This morning, another of the women testifying about their own experiences with Weinstein – actress and model Lauren Marie Young – continued, as Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis pressed on inconsistencies in her account of being “trapped” in a bathroom at a Los Angeles hotel room in February 2013 while Weinstein forcibly grabbed her breasts and masturbated himself.
Cheronis attempted to point out various inconsistencies in how Young has recounted the story over the years in conversations with police, prosecutors and on the stand yesterday. Did Young bang on the bathroom door, as she once said, or did she not, as she said yesterday? Was the door a sliding door or a typical swinging door? Had she been “pushed” into the bathroom or “forced”? Had she seen Weinstein’s testicles or merely his scrotum? And why had Young never mentioned Weinstein’s ejaculation – which she described as “not normal” and “lumpy” – prior to this testimony?
When the defense was finished with Young, prosecutors re-questioned the witness, attempting to clear up some of the conflicting details, including the visual appearance of Weinstein’s ejaculation. Young had, in fact, mentioned that detail prior to this trial, prosecutors suggested, even if she hadn’t used the word “lumpy”: Young had once described Weinstein’s ejaculate on a towel to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office as a “pile.”
Weinstein’s attorneys will begin presenting their case this afternoon, possibly calling two witnesses today including Leight. Other witness testimony for the defense is expected to continue at least through Monday.
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