NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former agent of accuser Jessica Mann took the stand in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial on Tuesday, testifying that Mann showed no signs of distress on the morning she claims she was sexually assaulted by the Hollywood producer.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at Criminal Court during his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., February 11, 2020. REUTERS/Bryan R Smith
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to raping Mann and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.
Mann accused Weinstein of raping her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013. She previously testified that the rape occurred in the course of an “extremely degrading” relationship with Weinstein that lasted for years.
Thomas Richards, a former friend and agent of Mann, a onetime aspiring actress, testified that he had breakfast with Mann and Weinstein immediately after the alleged rape. He said the dynamic between Mann and Weinstein appeared “friendly.”
Richards testified under a subpoena from the defense. Asked by Weinstein’s lawyer Damon Cheronis whether he was testifying to help Weinstein, Richards answered, “Not at all.”
Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, Richards said he had been drinking the night before the breakfast and his memory of the next day was not clear.
On Monday, Mann’s former friend Talita Maia, a Brazilian-born actress, testified that Mann did not show any distress after the alleged attack. Mann has said Richards was also with her in New York at the time.
Other defense witnesses could include Denise Doyle, a former Weinstein employee, and Kevin Wilson, a former Manhattan prosecutor who previously worked on the case.
The trial is a key moment in the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
The former producer, who was behind films including “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love,” has denied any nonconsensual sex.
Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault, the most serious charge against him.
Prosecutors rested their case on Thursday after jurors heard testimony from six women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault, including Mann, Haleyi and actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her home in the early 1990s.
The jury is likely to begin considering a verdict next week.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Cynthia Osterman and Jonathan Oatis