Model Lauren Young has accused Harvey Weinstein of groping her, masturbating in front of her and ejaculating onto a towel in a Beverly Hills hotel bathroom in 2013.
Testifying on Wednesday afternoon in the disgraced mogul’s Manhattan criminal trial, Young appeared on the stand as the prosecution’s final “prior bad acts” witness. The model and then-aspiring actress said she had been invited by a friend of Weinstein’s — model Claudia Salinas — to meet up with the producer at the Montage Beverly Hills under the guise of discussing a script Young was working on at the time.
“I was excited to network and pitch my ideas,” Young, now 30 years old, said. “I put on my best dress.”
Eventually, after the group of three had a conversation at the hotel bar, Young said Weinstein told them he needed to bring the conversation up to his room because he had to get ready to accept an award with Quentin Tarantino. Young said she and Salinas followed the producer, who led them into his hotel suite and into the bathroom.
“As I step into the bathroom, there’s a mirror straight ahead. I look into it and behind me, I see Claudia closing the door,” Young said. “Harvey went straight into the shower, turned it on and started undressing.”
Young said she was “in shock” and began nervously laughing as she turned to go back to the door, but she said Weinstein stepped in front of her and the door while still naked.
“He starts [saying], ‘We’re just going to have a talk here. We’re just talking,’ like it was nothing that he was naked,” Young said. “I felt so trapped.”
Young said that she was being backed up toward the sinks and that she turned around because she didn’t want to look at his naked body. But he came closer, she testified, and unzipped her white dress.
“He is masturbating and grasping my boob, my right breast, with his left hand and jerking off with his right hand, saying, ‘How am I going to know you can act?'” Young said emotionally. “I said, ‘No, no, no,’ the whole time, that I had a boyfriend, that I wasn’t interested.”
She said Weinstein also tried to touch her vagina, but she was able to block his hand because her hands were by her sides attempting to hold up her dress. But then he went back to groping her breast, Young said, and eventually masturbated onto a towel.
During the defense’s cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney Damon Cheronis put on a pair of gloves and took out Young’s white lace dress — the one she was wearing during the alleged assault — from a sealed plastic bag. Cheronis demonstrated unbuttoning and unzipping the dress in front of Young and asked her where the dress had fallen off her body.
Weinstein is not being charged in New York for Young’s account, but her accusations form the basis of some of the Los Angeles district attorney’s case against Weinstein, where he is charged with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.
Weinstein has denied any accusations of nonconsensual sex.
Earlier in the morning, employees for the DoubleTree Hotel in Manhattan and the TriBeCa Grill offered brief testimonies designed, for the most part, to help move pieces of evidence into the record. First on the stand was a former night manager for the DoubleTree, the hotel where another key witness, Jessica Mann, said Weinstein raped her in 2013.
The former night manager testified that he remembered checking in Weinstein to the hotel in 2013 and said the producer tried to “rush” the check-in process. He also said Weinstein was “really imposing” and “looming” over him at the desk, and that the body language of Weinstein’s female companion was concerning to him.
Casting director Marci Liroff also testified to confirm that the Weinstein Company asked her to audition Jessica Mann and her friend, Talita Maia, for the film “Vampire Academy.” Liroff said it was “unusual” for TWC — which was the U.S. distributor for the film — to be involved in the casting process and that the audition had essentially been a waste of her time because the auditioners were “too old” and “too tall” for the roles in the movie.