Harvey Weinstein Trial: Roommate Of Accuser Mimi Haleyi Spars With Defense: “I Thought An Older Man Could Certainly Contain Himself”

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Liz Entin, the former roommate of Harvey Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi, testified in support of Haleyi’s sexual assault claims and traded barbs with defense attorney Donna Rotunno on Tuesday.

Weinstein is charged with five felony counts stemming from accusations by Haleyi and actress Jessica Mann. Haleyi spent the full day Monday on the witness stand and Mann is scheduled to appear in the coming days as the trial winds through its fourth week in New York Supreme Court. Initially projected to last through March, the trial has moved at a steady clip and could conclude by mid-February.

Tuesday’s testimony began with Entin recounting to prosecutor Meghan Hast her relationship with Haleyi and her nighttime conversation in the summer of 2006, when Haleyi told her she had been raped at Weinstein’s apartment.

Entin recalled knowing Haleyi socially before the two became roommates. On one occasion, at an event at Cipriani, she said she met Weinstein in person in what she recalled as an uncomfortable interaction. “He put his arm around Miriam, pulled her to him and said, ‘This is the hottest woman I know,’” Entin said, using Haleyi’s first name Miriam.

Later, when Haleyi told her about the incident at the apartment, Entin recalled telling her she should contact an attorney. In the weeks that followed, Entin recalled, “She was much more withdrawn. … more nervous … significantly less vital. Spent a lot more time in her room.”

Rotunno, the hard-charging defense attorney who entered the Weinstein limelight after defending other men caught up in the #MeToo maelstrom, clashed with Entin during a 20-minute back-and-forth. Unlike other witnesses thus far, Entin lacked inhibition and delivered tart responses to many of Rotunno’s questions. Often when Rotunno would phrase things in a conditional way or use the word “allegedly,” Entin would firmly correct her and say that certain events “did happen” according to her recollection. At one point, Rotunno raised her hands and implored Judge James Burke, “Can you tell her to just answer the question?!”

As fellow defense lawyer Damon Cheronis has done during other witness cross-examinations, Rotunno sought to undermine Entin’s account by establishing several potential areas of doubt. In a series of questions, she got Entin to note that she had lost contact with Haleyi in 2007; had not followed up to see if Haleyi was OK after the assault; had not told prosecutors certain details until Tuesday’s testimony; and did not intervene in advance of the assault.

Rotunno wondered why Entin had not asked Haleyi not to “lead on” Weinstein or go to his apartment. “When my friend [Haleyi] told me about sexual assault, I didn’t ask her why she went to his house,” Entin shot back. As to the notion of Haleyi acting suggestively, “I didn’t think that was my place” to tell her something like that. “I thought an older man could certainly contain himself.”

Peanut, a chihuahua owned by Entin, got more screen time during the morning’s testimony after initially being referenced on Monday. Entin recalled Weinstein being afraid of the dog after barging into the East Village apartment shared by Entin and Haleyi, according to both roommates’ testimony. “‘What is this thing?! Get it away from me!'” Entin recalled him saying, adding that before the alleged assault the roommates found the interaction amusing. “We just thought it was pathetic, an older man trying to hit on Miriam,” she said.

On his way out of the courthouse following an unusual early dismissal for the day before noon, Weinstein was asked by a reporter whether he was, in fact, afraid of chihuahas. “Do I look like I’m afraid of chihuahas?!” he replied with a grin.

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/01/harvey-weinstein-trial-roommate-of-accuser-spars-with-defense-1202843941/