Weinstein trial: Accuser says producer trapped her in room, told her ‘all the actresses do this’

In the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial, accuser Lauren Young told the jury how Weinstein trapped her and assaulted her.
Harvey Weinstein departs a Manhattan courthouse for his rape trial.(AP)
Harvey Weinstein departs a Manhattan courthouse for his rape trial.(AP)
Updated on Feb 06, 2020 01:47 PM IST
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Associated Press, New York | By HT Correspondent

As Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted a young aspiring actor in a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, he said, “This is what all the actresses do to make it,” she told the jury at his trial on Wednesday. Within minutes of meeting Lauren Young, who was eager to pitch him on a screenplay about her life, Weinstein used it as a ruse to trap her in his room, Young testified.

“I was in shock,” she told the panel in New York state court in lower Manhattan. “I’m saying, ‘No, no, no,’ and he’s just carrying on a normal conversation.” Young told the jurors he said, “How do I know you can act?”

Young, 30, is the latest witness to describe a gruesome encounter with the former Hollywood power broker, who is on trial for rape and predatory sexual assault involving two women. She is the last of three other women whom prosecutors have called to establish a pattern of predation. Weinstein, 67, maintains that the encounters were all consensual and the relationships mutually beneficial.

Lauren Young clutches a tissue as she is questioned by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast during film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (REUTERS)
Lauren Young clutches a tissue as she is questioned by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast during film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (REUTERS)

Young told the jury she had befriended a woman at an Oscars party in February 2012. A year later the woman, a friend of Weinstein, invited her to meet with him at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. She’d been working on her script, Young told the court, and was “excited” about pitching the famous producer.

“I got ready and put on my best dress,” she said. Young told the court Weinstein came down to join her and his friend at the hotel bar and proposed his own idea for her next career move.

“He said what about ‘America’s Next Top Model?’” she testified. Young said she declined. “I was trying to transition into acting, and reality TV just wasn’t what I wanted,” she said.

Weinstein appeared distracted, told the women he needed to make an awards presentation involving the director Quentin Tarantino and invited them to follow him to his room, Young said.

Lauren Young is shown a dress by attorney Damon Cheronis on cross examination during film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court. (REUTERS)
Lauren Young is shown a dress by attorney Damon Cheronis on cross examination during film producer Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court. (REUTERS)

“He was looking down at his phone,” she said. “I was so excited to talk to him, but he wasn’t really paying attention to me. He said, ‘Let’s finish this conversation and follow me upstairs. I have to get ready to present an award.’”

Young said she followed Weinstein to his hotel room, with the friend behind her, and unwittingly entered a bathroom, only to realize the door had been shut behind her, trapping her inside with the producer.

“I was wearing a white dress, lace with a slip underneath it,” she said. “He unzipped it and started pulling it down and turned me around.”

Weinstein pulled the dress down to her elbows to constrict her arms as he began to assault her, Young told the jury.

“My hands were down to my sides because my dress was pulling them down, and my breasts were out,” Young said. She said she was “trapped by the seams of the dress, but my hands were blocking him.”

Film producer Harvey Weinstein attends his sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court. (REUTERS)
Film producer Harvey Weinstein attends his sexual assault trial at New York Criminal Court. (REUTERS)

Through the bathroom door, which had a frosted-glass panel, Young could see the silhouette of Weinstein’s friend as she stood in the bedroom, she testified. Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast asked Young to describe Weinstein naked, perhaps to confirm characteristics of his body described by some of the other witnesses.

Young said she immediately drove to Venice Beach to tell friends what had happened. Hast asked why she didn’t call the police.

“No, because he’s powerful,” Young responded. “I didn’t know what kind of power, and I was scared.” Young told the jury she contacted law enforcement only in 2017.

The day after the alleged assault, Young went to a meeting the producer had already scheduled at The Weinstein Co., she testified, saying she wanted to confront him. He wasn’t there. Young said she never saw Weinstein again, nor did she accept the company’s offer for her to appear on the reality show.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2021