Weinstein accuser tells trial he was ‘offended’ by rebuff

27 January 2020, 18:24

Mimi Haleyi
Sexual Misconduct Weinstein. Picture: PA

Former production assistant Mimi Haleyi said she met the movie mogul while in her 20s.

Harvey Weinstein “got offended” when his repeated advances were rebuffed, former production assistant Mimi Haleyi has told the trial of the former movie mogul.

“I did reject him, but he insisted,” said Ms Haleyi, whose allegations against Weinstein led to his charges and trial.

“Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down.”

Ms Haleyi said she thought “I’m being raped” and considered different options.

“If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she said.

“I couldn’t get away from him at all, let alone get away. I checked out and decided to endure it. That was the safest thing I could do.”

Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein (Mark Lennihan/AP)

Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on Ms Haleyi in his New York City apartment in 2006 and raping another woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. He insists any sexual encounters were consensual.

Ms Haleyi, 42, whose legal name is Miriam Haley, is the first of the two women whose accusations are at the heart of the charges against Weinstein to give evidence at the closely watched trial.

Last week, Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra told the court that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s.

Ms Haleyi went public with her allegations at an October 2017 news conference, appearing in front of cameras alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents Ms Sciorra and other Weinstein accusers.

Annabella Sciorra
Annabella Sciorra (Kathy Willens/AP)

Ms Haleyi, born in England and raised in Sweden, said she met Weinstein while in her 20s at the 2004 London premiere of the film The Aviator.

They crossed paths again at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and, when she expressed interest in working on one of his productions, he invited her to his hotel room and asked for a massage.

She said she declined, telling the court: “I felt stupid because I was so excited to go see him and he treated me that way.”

More meetings followed, and Weinstein secured her a job helping on the set of Project Runway, the reality show he produced.

She told the trial that before the alleged assault, Weinstein showed up at her apartment and begged her to join him a trip to Paris for a fashion show.

“At one point, because I just didn’t know how to shut it down, so to speak… I said, ‘You know you have a terrible reputation with women, I’ve heard’.”

Weinstein “got offended”, she said. “He stepped back and said, ‘What have you heard?’”

Asked by prosecutor Meghan Hast if she had any romantic or sexual interest in Weinstein, Ms Haleyi firmly answered: “Not at all, no.”

Ms Haleyi will have to deal with a defence team that said it plans to confront Weinstein’s accusers with messages they exchanged with him after the alleged assaults.

The jury of seven men and five women also heard evidence from Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who said most sex assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers, often under threat of retaliation if the victims tell anyone what happened.

By Press Association

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