NEW YORK (Reuters) – A former friend of Jessica Mann, one of the accusers in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, told jurors on Monday that Mann did not show any signs of distress on the day the former Hollywood producer allegedly attacked her.
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., February 10, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges in New York of raping Mann and to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi.
Mann testified earlier in the trial that Weinstein raped her in a Manhattan hotel room one morning in March 2013.
Brazilian-born actress Talita Maia told the jury on Monday that she spent the rest of that day with Mann, and that Mann did not say anything about the rape allegation or show any sign of distress.
Maia said she was testifying against her wishes under a subpoena from Weinstein’s lawyers.
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.
His trial is a milestone for the #MeToo movement in which women have accused powerful men in business, entertainment, media and politics of sexual misconduct.
Mann previously testified that the rape occurred in the course of an “extremely degrading” relationship with Weinstein that lasted for years.
On Monday, Maia said Mann “spoke highly” of Weinstein during her relationship with him, even calling him her “spiritual soulmate” at one point.
“She seemed to really like him as a person,” Maia said. Under cross-examination by prosecutors, Maia said she had a falling out with Mann some time before January 2017 and stopped speaking to her, though she said she did not dislike her.
Maia also said during questioning by prosecutors that Mann had once told her Weinstein was “controlling.” She said Mann had told her she was very upset when Weinstein pressured her to engage in a sexual act with another woman, an incident Mann had also described.
In response to follow-up questioning by Weinstein’s lead lawyer, Donna Rotunno, Maia denied that her falling out with Mann had anything to do with her testimony.
“I did not want to be here at all,” she said.
The defense here then called another witness, Mexican-born social media influencer Claudia Salinas. Another one of Weinstein’s accusers, Lauren Young, testified that Salinas stood outside a hotel bathroom door while Weinstein assaulted her, which Salinas flatly denied.
“That never happened,” she said.
Prosecutors rested their case last Thursday after jurors heard testimony from six women accusing Weinstein of sexual assault, including Mann, Mimi Haleyi and Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein raped her in her home in the early 1990s.
The trial began on Jan. 6 and was originally expected to last up to two months, but it now appears that lawyers could deliver their closing arguments as soon as this week.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool