NEW YORK (AP) — By her own account, Mimi Haley once rebuffed one of Harvey Weinstein’s relentless advances by telling him, “I hear you have a terrible reputation with women.”
As she tried to fight off Weinstein’s advances, Haley told him “no, no, no” before he held her down on a bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her, she said in emotional testimony Monday at Weinstein’s rape trial.
Haley, one of two women whose assault accusations led to Weinstein’s trial, took the stand Monday and, at times sobbing, detailed her allegation that the disgraced movie mogul sexually assaulted her at his New York City apartment in 2006.
“I did reject him, but he insisted. Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down,” the former “Project Runway” production assistant testified, adding that she told Weinstein she was menstruating in an attempt to deter him.
Haley, now 42, told jurors she thought, “I’m being raped,” and considered different options. “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she wondered.
“I checked out and decided to endure it,” she said. “That was the safest thing I could do.”
Haley is the first of the two women at the heart of the case to take the stand at his rape trial. A total of six accusers, including the aspiring actress he was charged with raping in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013, will testify at the closely watched #MeToo-era trial.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on the former production assistant and raping another woman, an aspiring actress, in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. He insists any sexual encounters were consensual.
Haley, who legally changed her last name from Haleyi, was the first of the two women whose accusations are at the heart of the charges against Weinstein to take the stand at the closely watched #MeToo-era trial, which is entering its fourth day of testimony.
Last week, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testified that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s. While outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, Sciorra’s allegations could be a factor as prosecutors look to prove Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior.
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Haley went public with her allegations at an October 2017 news conference, appearing in front of cameras alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents Sciorra and other Weinstein accusers.
Haley, born in England and raised in Sweden, said she met Weinstein while in her 20s at the 2004 London premiere of the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Aviator.”
They crossed paths again at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and, when she expressed interest in working on one of his productions, he invited her to his hotel room and asked for a massage.
Haley said she refused, replying, “No sorry, I’m not a masseuse.”
More meetings followed, and Weinstein secured Haley a job helping on the set of “Project Runway,” the reality competition show he produced. Later, she said, he invited her to attend a fashion show in Paris, but she declined by bringing up his sketchy reputation.
The alleged assault occurred at Weinstein’s Soho apartment after he sent a car to pick Haley up for what she thought was a friendly meeting about her career.
Instead, she said, Weinstein pushed her onto a bed and forced his mouth onto her genitals. She said she tried to get him to stop, even telling him she was menstruating, but he wouldn’t relent.
“I was mortified. I was in disbelief and disgusted,” she said.
In opening statements, prosecutor Meghan Hast said there was a subsequent hotel room encounter that Haley didn’t reveal in 2017. Hast said that though Haley didn’t want to have intercourse with Weinstein, she kept still and “let him degrade her.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they agree to be named as Haley and Sciorra have.
In testifying, Haley will have to deal with a defense team that said it plans to confront Weinstein’s accusers with their own words — messages they exchanged with Weinstein well after the alleged assaults. Weinstein’s lawyers argue the positive-sounding emails and texts call into question the accusers’ accounts.
The jury of seven men and five women also heard testimony from Dr. Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who said that most sex assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers, often under threat of retaliation if the victims tell anyone what happened.
Some of Haley’s messages were made public last year when Weinstein’s lawyers sought to get his case dismissed. One sent to Weinstein’s phone in 2007 reads: “Hi! Just wondering if u have any news on whether Harvey will have time to see me before he leaves? X Miriam.”
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