“The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testified on Thursday that Harvey Weinstein raped her in her Manhattan apartment around 1993 during an emotional and often tearful appearance in a New York courtroom.
“I was punching him, I was kicking him, I was just trying to get him away from me and he took my hands and put my hands over my head to hold me back,” she said on the stand as a witness for the prosecution, getting choked up as she demonstrated where she said he held her hands.
At that point, Sciorra said, Weinstein raped her and then ejaculated onto her leg and nightgown. He then began to perform oral sex on her without her consent, she said, and her body began to react.
“My body shut down,” she said. “It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. I didn’t really even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something.”
Sciorra testified that she did not tell anybody about the alleged assault for a very long time after it occurred but began abusing alcohol and cutting herself. She said she had a wall inside her apartment that she began painting a “blood red color” with tubes of oil paint and that she would put her blood on that wall and mark those spots with gold leaf. “I didn’t feel good,” she said. “And I didn’t want to go out, and so I spent a lot of time inside.”
Sciorra testified that she later confronted Weinstein about the encounter in her apartment. “I told him how I woke up and that I blacked out and fainted,” she said. “He said, ‘That’s what all the nice Catholic girls (say).'”
Then, Sciorra said, Weinstein became “menacing” and told her, “This remains between you and I.” She added, “His eyes were black, and I thought he was going to hit me right there. It was threatening and I was afraid of him.”
In addition, Sciorra testified that the mogul once sent her “a box of chocolate penises. I thought it was disgusting and inappropriate.”
Given the timeframe of when Sciorra says the assault took place, her account falls outside of the statute of limitations for criminal charges. But her testimony on Thursday was used by the prosecution to make the case that Weinstein was a serial predator who sexually assaulted numerous women.
The prosecution first previewed Sciorra’s account in vivid detail on Wednesday during opening statements.
“Different women from different places, decades apart, but the same crime. At the end of this trial, the evidence will be clear that the man seated right there,” Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast said, pointing toward Weinstein, “was not just a titan in Hollywood. He was a rapist.”
But in the defense’s opening, attorney Damon Cheronis disputed Sciorra’s account, as retold by Hast, and said that the actress had described the encounter with Weinstein to a friend in a different way.
“You’re going to hear that she admitted to doing a crazy thing. She didn’t describe it as rape,” Cheronis said. “It follows the narrative of the scary Harvey Weinstein who appeared in an apartment in Gramercy,” he added. “That didn’t happen, members of the jury.”
Sciorra first shared her story with the New Yorker in 2017, accusing Weinstein of violently raping her inside her Gramercy Park apartment and sexually harassing her for several years in the early 1990s.
Sciorra, who at the time was already making a name for herself as an actress, first met Weinstein in Los Angeles at an industry party in the early ’90s. She eventually starred in a Miramax production, at the behest of Weinstein, and became a regular figure at the studio’s screenings and dinners. But one evening, after Weinstein dropped her off at her Manhattan home in Gramercy Park, the actress testified that Weinstein barged into her home and raped her.
Sciorra is the second witness called to the stand by the prosecution in the criminal trial of Weinstein, who faces five felony counts, including predatory sexual assault and rape. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex.