LOS ANGELES – The New York trial of Harvey Weinstein and its California sequel had a rare overlap on Monday when the former film magnate’s only accuser, who testified at both, took the witness stand in Los Angeles and said she was in by him in a hotel bathroom Beverly Hills was sexually assaulted in 2013 while repeatedly telling him “no.”
Lauren Young said she was paralyzed with fear when Harvey Weinstein prevented her from leaving the bathroom, masturbated in front of her and fondled her breasts.
“I was afraid 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 2020, she was not among the accusers whose stories would lead to Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault conviction and a 23-year sentence. But prosecutors asked her to testify to help establish a pattern of Weinstein’s hunt for women.
In Los Angeles, Weinstein faces the same sexual assault allegations.
Young said Monday that in early 2013 she was a model aspiring to be an actress and screenwriter, and through Weinstein’s assistant-turned-friend, she arranged to meet him on the night of Feb. 24 at Monday Hotel. November 2013, about a screenplay she was working on.
During the meeting, Weinstein told her to escort him to his room to continue the conversation while he prepared for an event.
Young said Weinstein led them into the room and then into the bathroom, and his assistant closed the door behind them, leaving them alone.
She said she was stunned when he quickly removed his suit and briefly got into the shower, then came out and stopped her from leaving as she headed for the door.
“I was disgusted,” she said. “I’d never seen a guy that big naked before.”
She said she hit a sink and turned away from him. He then unzipped her dress and groped her with one hand while masturbating with the other.
Weinstein’s attorney, Alan Jackson, added rare moments of visual drama to the two-week-old trial with a pair of clothing displays during cross-examination.
He pulled out the dress Young was wearing that night and got her to admit that a DNA test couldn’t 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 took 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 replied.
When asked how Weinstein was able to solve everything so quickly, Young replied that he may have started while walking down the hall, a method she’d used as a model for rapid change.
“Does Mr. Weinstein seem like a role model to you?” Jackson asked.
“No, but he’s definitely a monster,” Young replied.
Like all women accused of sexual assault by Weinstein at trial, Young brushes past Jane Doe in court. The Associated Press does not typically publish the names of people making allegations of sexual assault unless they give their consent, as Young did through her attorney.
Young’s testimony at the New York trial closely matched her account. But during cross-examination, Jackson pointed out that it differed in many ways from her early reports to police, starting in 2018, when she called a hotline set up for reports about Weinstein after the #MeToo movement erupted.
Young first told detectives that the attack had happened a year earlier, days after she had dinner with Weinstein at a Beverly Hills restaurant. Jackson pointed out that she only said the same thing in 2020.
“I was certain I was being sexually assaulted,” Young said.
“That wasn’t my question,” the attorney replied. “I’m asking the time. Something you would remember.”
Jackson also brought up her previous confusion over the location of the attack, and she acknowledged she was unable to name the hotel in her first three interviews with authorities, the last in 2020.
“I had pushed it out of my mind,” Young said.
Deciding it was Montage when the police suggested it, she took them to the suite where Weinstein had stayed.
“And since then your statements and your statements have gotten a lot more detailed and a lot more colorful, hasn’t it?” Jackson said.
“My trauma, I had to relive it by walking through this room,” Young said. “I was in other rooms and didn’t feel anything. As I walked into that space, I felt everything flow back in.”
According to an indictment and a court testimony, Young’s attack came the day after Weinstein raped an Italian model at another hotel in the run-up to this year’s Oscars, where Weinstein has starred annually.
Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women. He has said many of those incidents were consensual, although in Young’s case his defense denies there was any sexual interaction at all.
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