Saturday 08/08/2020 - 08:15 am

Harvey Weinstein accuser tells jury explicit assault details, says he raped her: "I just froze"

2020.01.30 11:36

 After a week of emotional, often graphic testimony in the Harvey Weinstein sex crimes trial, the jury heard Wednesday from two former aspiring actresses who described being sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the mid-2000s.

Tarale Wulff, 43, the fourth woman so far to take the stand to testify about what she says Weinstein did to her, said he raped her in the summer of 2005 at his downtown apartment in New York, where she went for what she thought was a meeting about a possible role in one of his movies.

“I told him I can’t. And he answered don’t worry I have a vasectomy,” Wulff said as she described how he put her on a bed. “And I just froze. Going blank is easier for me. It’s just easier for me to get past it. I just remember getting up. I don’t remember anything in between."

She said she pulled herself together, and he took her downstairs to a car. She went back to his office and got a script but never did the audition and didnt get the part.

"I just wanted it to go away," she said, explaining that she didnt confide in anyone or call the police. "It was just easiest for me to pretend it didn’t happen and go about my day."

She said this encounter occurred a few weeks after Weinstein approached her at Cipriani Soho, a restaurant and bar downtown where she worked. She said she was cleaning the bar one night when Weinstein took her by the arm and steered her to a dark corner where he made her stand in front of him.

"He had on an (untucked) white shirt and I noticed his shirt started moving, and I realized he was masturbating under his shirt," she testified. "I froze for a second... and then ran past him."

On cross-examination, prosecutors and defense lawyers got into an argument over the timeline of Wulffs story; initially she said the rape happened in 2004, but changed the year after speaking to a friend. The defense wanted to question this friend; Judge James Burke denied it.

Wulff said she first went to Weinsteins office to look at a script and audition for a possible movie role. But she was told Weinstein wanted to see her in person so she got into a car with his driver thinking she was going to a coffee shop. Instead, she was taken to Weinsteins apartment, and without the script she was supposed to audition for.

"So you just thought you were leaving in the middle of the audition to just go see Harvey?" asked defense attorney Donna Rotunno. "Yes," Wulff answered. "For what?" Rotunno asked. "No specific reason," Wulff responded.

During cross-examination, Wulff paused frequently and stammered, saying she was unsure about times and dates. Rotunno questioned her about whether she specifically told the district attorneys office in October 2017 that Weinstein had raped her at his apartment. Wulff said she couldnt remember.

She also denied Rotunnos questions about whether prosecutors told her in 2017 that they couldnt use her as a witness against Weinstein because her memories of the encounter were "too fragmented." They suggested she see a psychologist specializing in memory issues, which she did, Rotunno said.

"Did you know you’ve seen (your psychologist) 55 times?," Rotunno asked. "And after all those sessions, the district attorney’s office was like, we’re going to use you in this case, correct?"

"Yes," Wulff responded,

"After several sessions with (the psychologist), isn’t it true that you told prosecutors that you think you voiced (to Weinstein) you didn’t want to have sex?" "I don’t recall," Wulff said.

Wulff, who now works as a model, and Dawn Dunning took the stand Wednesday as a "prior bad acts" or "Molineux" witnesses – accusers whose allegations are too old to prosecute but have been allowed to testify to bolster prosecutors case that Weinstein engaged in a pattern of sexual assault.

Dunning, 40, who met Weinstein at a nightclub where she worked, testified that she met with him over several months in 2004 about possible roles in his movies and doing a screen test.

“He would make comments about my looks and my body, but it wasn’t anything worse than what I’d heard in nightclubs," Dunning said. "I never thought it was unsafe.”

She met him in a hotel in Soho where he was working on a project in a suite packed with people working. She sensed no danger, no red flags, she said.

“I was talking with Harvey and he kind of led me into the other room, and I sat next to him on the bed, and I was wearing a skirt that day and he put his hand up my skirt,” Dunning said, starting to cry as she described Weinstein touching her.

"I stood up. I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting that to happen," she said. "He started talking really fast, he was like, dont make a big deal out of this, he said it wouldn’t happen again."

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