Weinstein accuser takes stand in LA after New York testimony
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The New York trial of Harvey Weinstein and its California sequel had a rare crossover Monday as the only accuser of the former movie magnate to testify at both took the stand in Los Angeles and said she was sexually assaulted by him in a Beverly Hills hotel bathroom in 2013 while repeatedly telling him “no.”
Lauren Young said she was paralyzed by fear when Harvey Weinstein blocked her from leaving the bathroom, masturbated in front of her and groped her breasts.
“I was scared of Harvey Weinstein — that he would hurt me, or send someone to hurt me, or ruin my career, or make my life hell,” Young told the court.
When Young testified in New York in February of 2020, she was not one of the accusers whose stories would lead to Weinstein’s conviction for rape and sexual assault and a 23-year prison sentence. But prosecutors called on her to testify to help establish a pattern of Weinstein preying on women.
In Los Angeles, Weinstein is charged with sexual battery by restraint for the same allegations.
Young said Monday that in early 2013, she was a model who was aspiring to be an actress and screenwriter, and through Weinstein’s assistant, who had become a friend, she set up a meeting with him at the Montage Hotel on the night of Feb. 19, 2013, about a script she was working on.
During the meeting, Weinstein said she should accompany him to his room to continue the talk while he got ready for an event.
Young said Weinstein led her into the room and then the bathroom, and his assistant shut the door behind them and left them alone.
She said she was stunned as he quickly shed his suit and got briefly in the shower, then stepped out and blocked her from leaving when she went for the door.
“I was disgusted,” she said. “I had never seen a big guy like that naked.”
She said she backed up against a sink and turned away from him. He then unzipped her dress and groped her with one hand as he masturbated with the other.
Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson gave the two-week-old trial rare moments of visual drama with a pair of clothing demonstrations during cross-examination.
He pulled out the dress Young had been wearing that night and got her to acknowledge that a DNA test failed to prove Weinstein had touched it.
Jackson also tried to cast doubt on whether Weinstein could have slipped out of his suit as quickly as she described. He pulled off his own suit coat to demonstrate.
“I’m just going to take my jacket off, I’m not going to go any further,” Jackson said.
“Please don’t,” Young answered.
When asked how Weinstein could have unfastened everything so quickly, Young answered that he may have gotten started while he was walking down the hall, a method she used to use for quick changes as a model.
“Does Mr. Weinstein strike you as a model?” Jackson asked.
“No, but he’s definitely a monster,” Young replied.
Like all of the women Weinstein is charged with sexually assaulting at the trial, Young is going by Jane Doe in court. 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 lawyer.
Young’s testimony closely hewed to her account during the New York trial. But during cross-examination, Jackson pointed out that it differed in many respects from her early accounts to police starting in 2018, when she called a hotline set up for reports about Weinstein after the #MeToo movement exploded.
Young initially told detectives that the assault had taken place a year earlier, days after she had been at a dinner with Weinstein at a Beverly Hills restaurant. Jackson pointed out that she was saying the same as recently as 2020.
“I was sure that I was sexually assaulted,” Young said.
“That wasn’t my question,” the lawyer replied. “I’m asking about the time. Something that would stick in your mind.”
Jackson also brought up her previous confusion about the site of the assault, and she acknowledged that she could not name the hotel in her first three interviews with authorities, the most recent in 2020.
“I had pushed it out of my memory,” Young said.
She decided it was the Montage when police suggested it and took her to the suite where Weinstein had been staying.
“And since then your testimony and your statements have gotten far more detailed and far more colorful, right?” Jackson said.
“My trauma, I got to relive it by walking through that room,” Young said. “I had been in other rooms and didn’t feel anything. When I walked in that room, I felt everything flow back in.”
According to allegations in an indictment and court testimony, the assault of Young came the day after Weinstein raped an Italian model at a different hotel during the run-up to that year’s Academy Awards, where Weinstein was annually a major player.
Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women. He has said that many of those incidents were consensual, though in the case of Young his defense denies there was any sexual interaction at all.
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