A dancer working on the Miramax sequel “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” testified Thursday that Harvey Weinstein all but ordered her off the active Puerto Rico set where she was working and into his car – using a female assistant to assure her compliance – then pinned and sexually assaulted her on the bed in his hotel room.
The witness, a tall blonde woman in a black shirt with white cuffs and black pants going by the Jane Doe name “Ashley M.,” entered the courtroom Thursday afternoon along with a victims’ services aide and LAPD detectives. She began sniffling and blotting her eyes immediately upon taking the stand, before any questions were even asked of her.
When Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez began asking questions, she could barely get out her words, and Judge Lisa Lench called for the afternoon break as shed broke out into apologetic sobs. With some [inaudible] words of comfort from the judge, they recessed and tried again after lunch.
She had landed the role as a body double for the lead, and was somewhat aware of who Weinstein was when she traveled by herself, at age 22, to Puerto Rico for the shoot. She said about a week into shooting, she immediately recognized Weinstein when he walked up to her while she was waiting to film a scene.
Within moments, she said, he was talking about a “naked massage.” She immediately told him she was engaged, and when Weinstein asked to whom, she told him her fiancee’s full name. Weinstein said he knew the man. Then Weinstein came back to the “naked massage” – saying he’d done “things like that” with Gwyneth Paltrow, and that it “would be good for my career,” Ashley M. testified.
She said she immediately began to look for a way out of the situation, growing “scared” of Weinstein’s aggressive advances: “I’m supposed to be on set, which I was … so I thought I would just be able to go on set. He replied saying, ‘I’m the one in charge here, they all answer to me.”
During meal break, she said Weinstein said he was going to be “waiting for her” to take her back to the hotel. Panicking, she said she called her mother and fiancee separately, and both told her to talk to producers and choreographers – which she did, but said they offered no help.
When she returned from lunch, Weinstein was, in fact, waiting at the front entrance – but he saw a woman with him. “At that point I felt better just knowing that I wasn’t alone.”
She said the woman was Bonnie Hung, Weinstein’s personal assistant at the time. Upon spotting Ashley M., she says, he told her aggressively: “Walk to Bonnie, and get in the car.”
“‘Walk to Bonnie and get in the car,’ for some reason I always have that in my head,” she said.
Ashley M. says she looked at Hung with a look like “can you help me?,” and “she looked me in the eyes and said ‘Don’t worry I’ll be with you the entire time. He just wants to talk about future projects.’”
Martinez then asked her why, at that point, she didn’t walk back to the set.
“Because nobody else was going to help me,” she said, and Weinstein made it clear that he was in charge. Besides, she believed it when Hung said they were just taking a meeting about projects.
The three of them did discuss future projects during the drive, she said, but she was surprised when they pulled up to a hotel. “If Bonnie hadn’t have been there I would have been freaking out but I felt more at ease because Bonnie was there,” she said.
They went up an elevator and down “what seemed lie a really long hallway, and Bonnie was there with her clipboard,” Ashley M. said. She began to break down again when she recalled walking toward a room, Bonnie still with them.
But then “I went in, and he went, in and … ” she starts crying again. “And then Bonnie shut the door behind us.”
She said Weinstein immediately became aggressive and “shoved me on the bed. … He was just saying a bunch of stuff and he shoved me and he ended u taking off my top and my clothes, my bra.”
Weinstein was trying to reassure her, saying “It’s not like we’re having sex, it’s just naked cuddling.” At this point she said she was “really scared” and “didn’t know what to do.” She said she told him to stop but “I just remember in my head thinking, ‘What do I do? Should I make a run for it?’ But I knew that he was just really big and I knew Bonnie was most likely out there so I didn’t know what to do.”
She said she was crying and hysterical as Weinstein straddled her, “ripped off my top and bra,” and started masturbating and fondling her breasts.
Martinez asked about Weinstein’s abnormal genitalia, which has been detailed in previous testimony.
“From the angle where he was his stomach was out so I couldn’t see it as well from the angle of being … I just saw the motion of his hand. … He just said ‘It’s OK, it’s not like we’re having sex.’ And then he ejaculated on me, on my breasts and some on my face.”
“I was just really thankful that I wasn’t raped,” she said. “I remember wiping off just getting dressed really fast and leaving really fast.”
She said Weinstein was getting dressed as she left the hotel room, and saw Hung “right at the front door.” Though Ashley says she was still hysterical and crying, Hung did not make eye contact with her, and “just stood there with her [clipboard].”
The three rode the limousine back to the set, though Ashley M. did not recall they had any conversation, but that she “remained hysterical” for the entire drive.
She said she told her mom and her fiancee what happened in vague terms, but did not report it on set.
“I felt that at that time everyone was afraid of their career and stuff,” she said. “Nobody helped me at the dinner, so why would they help me now?”
With that, Judge Lisa Lench broke for the day. Court was to resume at 9:30 a.m. Friday
Harvey Weinstein’s former personal driver took the stand Thursday, saying he dropped his client off at the Peninsula around 12:30 a.m. on the night an Italian model and actress said she was later raped at another hotel a short distance away – in what prosecutors painted as a timeline that seems to keep evolving.
But before prosecutors could get to grilling Alfred “Freddy” Baroth about his temporal sense, he gave a window into what working for a before-the-fall Weinstein might have been like. While Weinstein lawyer Mark Werksman was asking Baroth about answering questions and complying with investigators, the lawyer asked him: “When you see a red light, I assume you stop.”
“With Mr. Weinstein?” was Baroth’s answer, prompting laughter in the courtroom.
On redirect, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson asked what Baroth had meant by that answer.
“If we were running late,” Baroth said, “there was no such thing as a red light. If we were in a hurry we would go through it.”
Baroth was sworn in first thing Thursday as Jane Doe 1, the model-actress whose 2013 alleged assault was the first charging case presented by Los Angeles prosecutors, had wrapped her testimony the night before. The driver said he started Limousines of Los Angeles in 2009/2010, with 60% or more of his business coming from Weinstein and his company. He stopped working as Weinstein’s personal driver in 2017 after the disgraced producer’s arrest, and said he has given testimony twice in 2019 to police, and once to a grand jury in 2021.
Baroth testified that Weinstein preferred to stay at the Peninsula, which he described as “a five- or six-minute drive” to Mr. C’s. He said Weinstein never stayed at Mr. C’s, but would go to dinner and attend functions there.
Jane Doe 1 testified over three days that she was staying at Mr. C’s during LA Italia Fest on Feb. 17, 2013, “barely” spoke to Weinstein that night, and went back to her room sometime after midnight. She was unable to establish a clear sense of exactly when Weinstein showed up, unannounced and very much to her surprise, then talked his way in and raped her.
Baroth said he drove Weinstein that night, as he did all week during LA Italia Fest. Though he couldn’t remember his schedule from that day, prosecutors produced an email from Weinstein’s assistant saying he was scheduled to be dropped of at LA Italia Film Festival at 8:45.
Thompson pointed out that Baroth told his team of prosecutors that he dropped Weinstein off at the Peninsula at 1 a.m.; but told defense attorney Mark Werksman it was 12:30; and told Los Angeles police in 2019 “I got done with Mr. Weinstein around 1:30 a.m.,” which was the time he also told a grand jury in March.
Thompson also challenged Baroth on his statement that he answered all questions police had asked. Showing a transcript, Thompson noted that in his Beverly Hills Police Department interview in 2019, when he was asked about sexual assault allegations, Baroth said “Don’t push me.”
Baroth testified that he didn’t recall saying that.
“You then said, ‘It’ll be a long drive home,’ meaning you will refuse to answer further questions?” Thompson shot back.
Baroth replied: “Absolutely not!”
Baroth was excused and court took a short recess.
Weinstein faces 11 charges of sexual assault from allegations spanning from 2004-2013. The trial is expected to last into December after a two-week jury selection process seated a panel last Thursday of nine men and three women. Weinstein could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted.
He is already serving 23 years in a New York prison for criminal first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape, a conviction he has been granted the right to appeal. Weinstein has maintained his innocence since the New York Times first published accusations against him five years ago this month.
More to come …