NEW YORK (Reuters) – Actress Rosie Perez took the stand in the rape trial of Harvey Weinstein on Friday to bolster the account of friend and fellow actress Annabella Sciorra, who said she was raped by the former Hollywood producer in the early 1990s.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 24, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Perez, whose film credits include Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing,” told jurors that Sciorra shared details of the alleged assault, including that Weinstein had pinned her arms above her head as he raped her.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting two other women, Mimi Haleyi and Jessica Mann.
Sciorra, who appeared in “The Sopranos,” testified on Thursday that Weinstein violently raped her more than 25 years ago.
While that alleged conduct occurred too long ago to support a separate rape charge against Weinstein, prosecutors hope it will show that he is a repeat sexual predator – the charge that could put him in prison for life.
Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
The accusations fueled the #MeToo movement, in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.
Weinstein has denied any nonconsensual sex, and his lawyers said in opening statements on Wednesday that emails from his accusers would show they maintained warm relations.
Perez, testifying for the prosecution, said she called Sciorra one night to invite her to go out, but Sciorra answered in a “strange whisper of a voice.”
When she asked Sciorra what was wrong, Sciorra answered, “I think something bad happened. I think I was raped.”
Perez testified that when she asked Sciorra who had raped her, Sciorra said only, “I can’t, I can’t.”
Months later, Perez said, she heard rumors that Weinstein was stalking Sciorra in London and put “two and two together.”
Perez said she called Sciorra, who told her that Weinstein had raped her.
Sciorra testified that her encounter with Weinstein left her depressed, causing her to drink heavily and cut herself, and unable to tell her family what had happened.
Under questioning from one of Weinstein’s lawyers, Donna Rotunno, Sciorra acknowledged that she had not reported the alleged rape to authorities or sought medical help.
“At the time, I didn’t understand that it was rape,” she said.
Reporting by Brendan Pierson; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis