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Alleged Weinstein victim tells court of assault at New York apartment

Defense lawyers ferociously challenged Mimi Haleyi’s account during cross-examination.

Wulff leaves the Weinstein trial.
Wulff leaves the Weinstein trial.
Image: Richard Drew

A FORMER COCKTAIL waitress told Harvey Weinstein’s sex assault trial that the ex-Hollywood mega-producer pinned her down and raped her in his New York apartment in 2005.

Tarale Wulff, 43, said she was driven to Weinstein’s home after turning up at his office for what she believed would be a meeting about a possible film role.

“He grabbed my arms, put me onto the bed and leaned over me,” Wulff told the Manhattan court. 

“I told him, ‘I can’t.’ He told me, ‘Don’t worry, I can’t have kids,’” added Wulff, now a model.

Wulff is the second supporting witness to testify that Weinstein raped her after “The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra told the jury Thursday that he forced himself on her in the early 90s.

Wulff said Weinstein had earlier masturbated in front of her after grabbing her arm and taken her to a secluded part of a plush Manhattan restaurant where she worked.

Defense attorney Donna Rotunno accused Wulff of changing the year of the alleged assault from 2004 to 2005 just a few months before the trial.

She also pointed out that Wulff had accepted the meeting with Weinstein despite the initial alleged sexual assault in the restaurant.

Earlier, Dawn Dunning testified that Weinstein stuck his hand up her skirt and tried to penetrate her with his fingers during a hotel meeting to discuss possible film projects in 2005.

“I just kind of froze and stood up. He apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again,” she said.

Dunning, now 40, added that two weeks later Weinstein demanded a threesome with her in return for movie roles after she agreed to meet him in a hotel lobby.

A female assistant took her to a suite upstairs. There, wearing just a bathrobe, Weinstein said she could have the part if she had sex with him and his assistant.

“When I started laughing he started being really angry he said, ‘You’re never going to make it,’” said Dunning, adding that she stopped acting soon after.

The ex-Miramax boss said he had asked the same of Charlize Theron, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman, accuser Dawn Dunning told the New York state court. 

There is no suggestion that any of the three actresses ever acquiesced to the alleged request.

On Monday, one of Weinstein’s main accusers told his rape trial that the ex-Hollywood producer forcibly performed oral sex on her in a child’s bedroom in his New York home.

Defense lawyers ferociously challenged Mimi Haleyi’s account during cross-examination, saying emails she sent Weinstein showed the pair were in “a consensual relationship”.

Haleyi, a production assistant on reality TV show Project Runway, cried as she told the Manhattan court that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in July 2006 while she was on her period.

She described how the Pulp Fiction producer, then three times her weight, initially appeared “friendly” before backing her into a bedroom with children’s drawings on the wall.  

“He was kissing and fondling me,” Haleyi, (42) said. ”I expressed to him the entire time that I don’t want this to happen,” she, added, sobbing.

Weinstein pushed her onto the bed and forcibly performed oral sex on her after pulling out her tampon, she said during the fourth day of testimony in the trial symbolic to the #MeToo movement.

“Physically I was trying to get away (but) I figured it was pointless and I basically checked out,” Haleyi told the court.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual assault since allegations against him first ignited the #MeToo movement in October 2017.

But he faces charges related to just two women: Haleyi, and actress Jessica Mann, who says Weinstein raped her in 2013.

Weinstein faces life in prison if convicted of the most serious charges against him, those of predatory sexual assault.

Finnish-born Haleyi said she opted not to report the alleged attack out of fear she would be expelled from the United States for failing to have a valid work visa.

“I thought going to the police wasn’t an option for me,” she said, adding that Weinstein ”had a lot more power and connections” as well.

Weinstein claims all of his sexual relationships were consensual. During cross-examination by defense attorney Damon Cheronis, Haleyi said she had intercourse with Weinstein about two weeks after the alleged attack.

She said Weinstein ”grabbed” her by the arm and led her to the bed.

“Were you assaulted?” asked Cheronis. ”I didn’t resist,” replied Haleyi.

Cheronis produced a deluge of emails and correspondence showing that she had remained in contact with Weinstein for years after the alleged assault.

Two months after the incident, in September 2006, on learning that Weinstein was in London, she wrote an email to his assistant which said: “I’m totally bummed to have missed you guys.

“I tried to change my flight but couldn’t,” it added. 

In one, written two years after the incident, Haleyi wrote: “Hi Harvey, how are you? Great to see you.” She signed it “Lots of Love”.

“You had a consensual relationship with Mr Weinstein,” Cheronis said to Haleyi. “You had a friendship with Mr Weinstein,” he added.

“I had a professional relationship with Mr Weinstein,” Haleyi replied.

- © AFP 2020

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