A final accuser at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial says he told her having him grope her is what actresses had to do to make it in Hollywood
NEW YORK —
As Harvey Weinstein stripped off his clothes, pulled down her dress and groped her breast in a hotel bathroom in 2013, Lauren Marie Young says he also offered a chilling excuse for his lewd behavior: “This is what all actresses do to make it.”
Young’s account of her encounter with then-one of Hollywood’s most powerful movie makers came on Wednesday after she was called to the witness stand at Weinstein’s New York City rape trial in a final push by prosecutors to show there was a pattern to how he preyed on women.
Weinstein persisted by masturbating, despite her telling him, “‘No, no, no’ the whole time,” Young told jurors as the the last of six women to testify at the trial about alleged series of sexual assaults by the defendant.
The criminal charges are based on two allegations: that he raped a woman in March 2013 and forced oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006. Additional women, including Young, have been allowed to testify as prosecutors attempt to show there was a practiced method to Weinstein’s attacks, including inviting women to his hotel room to discuss business, then disrobing and demanding sexual favors.
Weinstein, 67, has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.
Young began her testimony by describing how she put on her favorite dress before heading off to a meeting with Weinstein where she expected to “network and pitch my ideas.” After he invited her up to his Beverly Hills hotel room, Weinstein lured her into the bathroom while a friend of his who helped arrange the meeting, Mexican model Claudia Salinas, closed the door behind them, she said.
The witness testified that after Weinstein was nude, he kept her from escaping by pushing her against the sink and blocking her way to the door.
“I felt so trapped and I was in shock,” she told jurors, fighting back tears. She said she pleaded with Weinstein not to hurt her before he finally stepped out of the bathroom.
She pulled up her dress and walked out to find Salinas “still standing right there,” she said. “I shot her an evil look and I left as quick as I could.”
On cross-examination, defense attorney Damon Cheronis questioned Young about her admission that she was initially confused about when the alleged assault occurred and her description of the lumbering Weinstein so quickly taking advantage of her. His voice rising, Cheronis asked, “And then this big, fat man does a ninja tear off with his clothes?”
Cheronis also seized on some inconsistencies in Young’s courtroom testimony compared to her previous statements to investigators. For example, on the witness stand, she said Weinstein grazed her genitals, but in 2018 she told a Beverly Hills police detective, “I don’t think he touched me down there.”
The witness was to return to the stand Thursday with the prosecution case nearly complete.
Young’s allegations involving the hotel encounter in California are partly the basis of criminal charges filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney on Jan. 6, just as Weinstein’s New York trial was getting underway. Weinstein is also charged with raping a different woman in that case.
The Associated Press typically does not publish the names of people alleging sexual assault unless they give their consent, as Young has done through her attorney.
On Tuesday, the jury was shown a series of nude photos of Weinstein taken by the district attorney’s office a few weeks after his arrest, possibly to try to corroborate claims by another accuser he’s charged with raping that she noticed “extreme scarring” on his body.
Asked about Weinstein’s anatomy on Wednesday, Young recalled a scar that “was not a normal looking scar from a circumcision.”
Messages were left Wednesday with Salinas and her manager.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors heard from a former front desk manager who checked Weinstein into a midtown Manhattan hotel where he is alleged to have raped a different women in March 2013. The testimony was meant to corroborate the woman’s claim that Weinstein bullied his way into the hotel over her objections.
“Usually couples checking in are in a happy mood,” Rothschild Capulong told the jury, adding he was so concerned about Weinstein’s behavior that he made a note in his end-of-shift report that security might want to check on his room.
On Twitter, follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak and Tom Hays at twitter.com/aptomhays