The criminal trial against Harvey Weinstein has begun, and for his dozens of accusers, it’s a moment that’s been a long time in the making. The disgraced film mogul is currently facing charges of rape and criminal sex acts based on the allegations of two women. However, several women will testify in the trial in an effort to demonstrate a pattern of predatory and abusive behaviour.
On Thursday, one such testimony was delivered by actress Annabella Sciorra, who took to the witness stand to say that Weinstein raped her. According to The New York Times, Sciorra testified that the assault happened in her New York City apartment, which Weinstein forcibly entered, in late 1993 or early 1994.
“I was trying to get him off me,” Sciorra told the jury. “I was punching him, kicking him. He got on top of me and he raped me.”
In graphic detail, she recounted the night of the attack to those in the courtroom. She described attending a group dinner with Weinstein at a Manhattan restaurant. Ultimately, he offered to give her a ride home. When she got there, she went about her business and began getting ready to go to bed. Then, someone knocked on her door. Sciorra testified that she thought it was a neighbour or her doorman, but it turned out to be Weinstein, who proceeded to push past her and enter her apartment.
Before she could get away, he grabbed her, took her to a bedroom, and raped her, she said. “I was just shaking like a seizure — I don’t know how else to describe it,” Sciorra testified. “I woke up, but I’m not sure if I fainted, blacked out or fell asleep.”
When a prosecutor asked her why she didn’t call the police to report the assault, she explained that the experience had left her feeling “confused.” “He was someone I knew,” Sciorra explained. “I felt at the time that rape was something that happened in a back alleyway in a dark place.”
Earlier this month, several Weinstein accusers stood outside the Manhattan courthouse where his trial is taking place to share their stories. Before Weinstein walked in, they stood in a designated penned-off area holding signs that read “Listen to Survivors.” Weinstein, flanked by bodyguards and his legal team, avoided looking at them as he made his way into the courthouse, with his walker in tow.
In total, Weinstein faces five counts of predatory sexual assault, criminal sex acts, and rape, for allegedly forcibly performing oral sex on former Weinstein Co. production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and the alleged 2013 rape of another woman, who has remained anonymous, in a hotel room. Although Sciorra’s alleged assault falls outside New York State’s statute of limitations, her testimony is certain to play a powerful role in determining Weinstein’s fate.
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