Jessica Mann, an actress and hairdresser, was named on Wednesday as the second key witness in Harvey Weinstein’s criminal trial.
Up until this point, Mann had remained unnamed in court proceedings and documents. According to prosecutor Meghan Hast’s opening statement, where the prosecution introduced the jury to the women they’d be hearing from, Weinstein raped Mann multiple times in 2013.
In addition, prosecutors named four additional supporting witnesses who have claimed Weinstein sexually assaulted them but whose accusations fall outside the statute of limitations or are not part of the prosecution’s criminal case: “The Sopranos” actress Anabella Sciorra, actress-costume designer Dawn Dunning, model Tarale Wulff and actress-model Lauren Young. They will offer testimony to help the prosecution’s argument that Weinstein is a serial predator.
Mann, who grew up on a dairy farm in Washington State, had first met Weinstein at an industry party in Los Angeles, where she had moved to become an actress. Because of her naiveté, Hast said, she did not know who Weinstein was and introduced herself to him when she saw him talking to a friend.
Not long after, Hast said, Weinstein invited Mann to meet up at a hotel bar for a meeting. While the conversation began about her career aspirations, Hast said Weinstein eventually took the conversation up to his hotel room and asked if he could give Mann a massage. Instead, she offered to massage him instead so that “he wouldn’t have to touch her,” Hast said. “Jesssica Mann will tell you that she thought she had handled the situation.”
After that interaction, Mann began receiving invitations to industry events and was soon told by Weinstein that he had a movie in mind for her and her friend to play leads in. The three met up once again at a hotel bar, where Weinstein invited them to go up to his hotel room again because that’s where he had the script. But that would be when the first assault would take place, according to Hast.
While Mann attempted to demur based on their last interaction, Hast said, she ultimately relented after Weinstein “manipulated her feelings.” Once inside the hotel room, Weinstein told Man’s friend to wait in the room’s living area and “grabbed Jessica” and took her into the bedroom, shutting the door.
“Once alone in the bedroom, the defendant, still holding her arms, began kissing her and backing her further into the bedroom. She tried to get away, both physically and verbally. But … the 105-pound Jessica was no match for the close to 300-pound defendant,” Hast said. “He forced her onto the bed, held her down, put his mouth on her vagina and orally sexually assaulted her. Jessica … realizing there was nothing she could do, faked an orgasm, hoping that would end it.”
After the interaction, Hast said Mann was encouraged by her friend to maintain a relationship with Weinstein. “Maybe I can just grin and bear it,” Hast said Mann thought at the time. “Maybe he really does think I’m talented and special.”
The two would continue to have sexual encounters for the next few months, Hast said, but the actress was able to prevent the encounters from escalating to sexual intercourse.
The second assault took place in March 2013, when the two had planned to meet with a few of Mann’s friends for a late breakfast meeting at the Doubletree hotel in New York City, according to Hast. He arrived early for the meeting and Mann saw him checking into the same hotel and when Mann confronted him about it, Weinstein became “angry” and told her not to embarrass him, Hast said. But once inside a hotel room, Hast said Weinstein “demanded (Mann) take off her clothes.”
“She refused. He became louder, more aggressive. He grabbed her and began to physcially undress her,” Hast said. Realizing the “danger of the situation,” Man “relented” and got undressed.
“He ordered her onto the bed and then he disappeared for a moment into the bathroom. He came back out, he got on top of her, and her raped her, forcing his penis into her vagina. Jessica just laid there. When he finished, he got off her and told her to get dressed,” Hast said.
The third assault took place in November 2013, according to Hast. Mann had been working as a hairdresser and was cutting Weinstein’s hair. She had wanted to use that opportunity to tell Weinstein she had a boyfriend to try to discourage any further sexual interactions. But when she refused to tell Weinstein if her boyfriend was an actor or not, Hast said the mogul turned violent.
“He grabbed Jessica by the arms, ripped her from the chair, and dragged her into the bedroom, all while screaming at her that she owed him one more time,” Hast said. “He demanded she take off her clothes, and she resisted, crawling up to the top of the bed and curling into a fetal position.”
Hast said that Weinstein violently ripped off Mann’s pants.
“Jessica will tell you that the moment she curled up into that ball at the top of the bed, she lost her voice. She lost her ability to fight, to resist,” Hast said. “He violently grabbed her ankles, pulled her to the floor, spread her legs, and put his mouth onto her vagina. Jessica remained frozen, staring at a blank TV. The defendant then put his full weight on top of her and forced his penis into her vagina.” After the rape, Hast said Weinstein “wasn’t satisfied” and pulled Mann back into the bathroom and forced her to perform oral sex on him.
Opening statements will continue on Wednesday, with the prosecution presenting its case first. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty of five felony counts and denied all accusations of nonconsensual sex.