News

Weinstein accuser tells court relationship was based on fear

February 2, 2020 01:53 PM


An actress accusing disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of rape told a court she had only stayed in contact with him out of fear. 

Jessica Mann said she had been naive when she first met Weinstein and then so scared of him that she would agree to massage him, fake an orgasm or stay in contact with him even after he allegedly raped her.

Dozens of women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse but only the cases of Mann and fellow actress Mimi Haleyi have led to criminal charges in a New York court.

Three other women - Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff - have testified that Weinstein sexually assaulted them, but their cases are not the subject of the trial, which was sitting for the eighth day of testimony.

Weinstein denies the predatory assault charges and maintains that all his relationships were consensual.

Mann, 34, grew up on a farm in Washington state and was on the streets for a while before becoming an actress. She was the only Weinstein accuser who had not heard of him before they met, seven years ago.

She began weeping Friday even before prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon's questioning started and, at times, was so emotional she had trouble speaking.

She described her first encounters with the producer as a mixture of seduction, humiliation and manipulation.

Then, in a hotel in Los Angeles, she said she agreed to give him a massage. "He'd make me feel stupid, saying it was not a big deal," she said.

Later, when she was with one of Weinstein's assistants, he called her into a room and tried to kiss her. She said she tried to resist but he succeeded in performing oral sex on her. 

"I started to fake an orgasm to get out of it," she said, adding that she escaped as soon as she could. "I was confused about it," she said when asked about her later relations with Weinstein.

"I made the decision to be in a relationship with him," she added. "It was extremely degrading."

Several weeks later, in March 2013, when she was already in a relationship with another man, Weinstein ambushed her in a Manhattan hotel, forced her into a room and raped her, she said.

She did not tell anyone about the encounter. "I was scared of Harvey," she told the court. "I was pretty concerned about protecting the actor I was dating."

Before the trial began, Weinstein's defense team produced a number of emails sent by Mann long after her alleged rape, which Weinstein's lawyers insisted showed the relationship was consensual.

Mann said Friday the messages were written out of fear of the powerful producer.



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