The defense team for accused rapist Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday questioned accuser Jessica Mann about her psychiatric and emotional history, eliciting responses indicating that Mann had been diagnosed with panic disorder and disassociation, had previously engaged in self-injury and suicidal ideation, and was tested, but did not complete, an examination for borderline personality disorder.
Asked whether she had experienced “disassociation’ or “loss of touch” with reality, Mann said, “I never lost touch with reality. I do disconnect.”
The testimony came in the final minutes of Mann’s cross-examination this afternoon by Weinstein’s team during his trial in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan. At one point, when defense attorney Donna Rotunno asked Mann whether she’d experienced “paranoid thinking,” Mann said, “During the course of waiting for this trial a little bit.”
“Anger?,” asked Rotunno.
“Are you my psychiatrist?” shot Mann.
Today’s testimony involved allegations by Mann that on several occasions beginning in 2013, Weinstein raped her orally and vaginally in encounters that began with him demanding a massage at a suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills after the two had met there to discuss a possible role in the film Vampire Academy. Another assault, she charges, occurred the following year at a New York hotel when she was visiting the city with two friends.
Weinstein has maintained that all sexual encounters with all of his accusers have been consensual. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
The questions about Mann’s mental and emotional history followed an afternoon in which Mann was drilled by the defense about the dates and timeline of her sexual encounters and email exchanges with Weinstein. Earlier today, the defense hammered away at the “plethora” of seemingly friendly, even affectionate, emails exchanged between Mann and Weinstein during the course of their five-year sexual relationship, ending in 2017, including repeated interactions following the 2013 and 2014 incidents of alleged rape.
Asked by Rotunno whether her fuzzy recollection of timelines and dates wasn’t merely a recognition that her friendly emails with Weinstein after the alleged rape would “look bad,” Mann said, “I’m not ashamed of them and that’s why I’m still here. I know my relationship is complicated and difficult but that doesn’t change that he raped me…I don’t need an excuse, I own my behavior.”
This afternoon, the defense played a recording of Mann’s 2014 consultation with a West Hollywood psychic — recorded on Mann’s phone — in which Mann, discussing her troubled relationship with a boyfriend named Eddie, told the psychic that as a hair stylist and actress in Hollywood she works with “scummy leeches” who she allows in her life only “to serve me in a good way.” She goes on to name Weinstein as a hair-styling client. “He’s been a part of my life and I can’t share that with people — he tries to cross boundaries in my life but I don’t allow him to.”
A much more explicit email exchange between Mann and a friend was presented into evidence today, in which Mann wrote to her friend what she’d like to say to her then-boyfriend Eddie, with whom she was having ongoing difficulties: “I’m blowing a super-rich Hollywood producer who could ruin you.” Even earlier today, an email exchange between Mann and Eddie was read into evidence in which Eddie seemingly blamed a “vindictive” Weinstein for getting him fired from a job.
In another email resurrected by the defense, Mann wrote that she chose to file criminal charges in New York because the statute of limitations for a civil case in Los Angeles had expired. Rotunno pressed Mann on whether she knew that filing criminal charges in New York could “extend” the limitation on filing a civil suit in New York.
“I 100-thousand percent did not know that until this morning, till you just told me,” Mann replied.
The questioning about Mann’s psychiatric evaluation was the final testimony in Mann’s cross-examination. After she left the witness stand, the District Attorney presenting the case against Weinstein called onto the stand a photographer who works for the D.A.’s office and had recently photographed Weinstein.
The photos were shown to the jury – but not the courtroom at large or reporters. Mann had previously testified that Weinstein’s genital area was “scarred” as if from a burn, and that the alleged rapist was “deformed” to the point of appearing intersex and in need of injections to achieve an erection. Weinstein’s attorneys objected to the photos being shown to the jury, although neither side’s attorneys described the photos aloud.
Also testifying, briefly, today were executives from the Peninsula Beverly Hills and Montage hotels in Los Angeles to corroborate the dates in which Mann said Weinstein was booked at the hotels. Both execs testified that Weinstein usually checked into the hotels under the alias “Max Poster,” an apparent nod to Weinstein’s father Max and mother Miriam Postel Weinstein.
The trial will resume Wednesday morning, with the District Attorney expected to rest its case by end of day or early Thursday, after which Weinstein’s defense will immediately begin calling its own witnesses.