Prosecutors brought in the American actress on Thursday to support the charge of “predatory sexual assault” against Harvey Weinstein. Annabella Sciorra claims that the producer raped her in her Manhattan apartment one winter evening in 1993 or 1994.
The actress entered through a discreet, dignified door, walking calmly, before taking her place alongside judge James Burke. Facing her, the prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon begins her interrogation:
“Do you see Harvey Weinstein in this room?
– Yes, he's wearing a white shirt and a black suit. “
Undaunted, 59-year-old actress Annabella Sciorra points to the man sitting in this courtroom of the Supreme Court of New York. His alleged rapist. The American, renowned for her role in the series The Sopranos, came to testify on Thursday, January 23, in the trial for rape and sexual assault of Harvey Weinstein in Manhattan. A first terrible key testimony, aimed at proving the attitude “Predatory” of the fallen Hollywood tycoon. A testimony that the defense immediately tried to discredit.
Annabella Sciorra answered the prosecution's specific questions willingly. She recounts her meeting with Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles in the early 1990s, professional exchanges, then a rocking. In his words, the man insists that she play a role in a film. He won't produce it if she refuses, and will sue her if she doesn't play “at once”. The actress, however busy, feels forced to accept. Won by fatigue during the filming, she receives in her New York apartment a package intended, according to her sender, “to relax”. The producer sent him popcorn, a few movies and Valium. Another package follows: this time it's a box of penis-shaped chocolates. “It was disgusting, inappropriate”, tackle Annabella Sciorra.
Prosecutor Shifts “on a particular dinner”, occurred between 1993 and 1994. The precise moment escaped the actress then thirty. She takes a deep breath before recounting this meal in an Irish restaurant, then Harvey Weinstein's proposal. It's around 10 p.m. winter evening when “The accused [him] says he is going [the] drive home [she]. “ “Did you accept?” revival Joan Illuzzi-Orbon. “Yes.” When she arrives home, the actress prepares to go to sleep. She puts on her nightgown, but hears “someone knocking on the door”. Surprise, it opens. His voice shakes for a moment at the mention of “what happened after”. Annabella Sciorra pauses, then begins her painful presentation. “The accused pushed the door, started walking around the apartment to find out if someone was there, and unbuttoning his shirt”, relates the witness.
I realized he wanted to have sex with me, and I didn't want to. I started to back away, then he grabbed me.at the trial of Harvey Weinstein in New York
At the request of the prosecution, the actress stands up and mimics the gestures of the producer that evening. She places her hands in the air, crossed over her head, to show how Harvey Weinstein forcibly held her on her bed, despite her blows. “He got on me and raped me.” Joan Illuzzi-Orbon asks him to repeat for the jurors. Flickering voice, Annabella Sciorra spares no detail, hammering that the accused “introduced his penis into [his] vagina”, “withdrew” then “ejaculated on [her] nightgown, saying, “I have perfect timing.”
Cunnilingus without her consent then leaves her, she says, “the trembling body, as if [she] Faisai[T] an epileptic seizure “. “What happened after?” continues Joan Illuzzi-Orbon. “The accused is gone, and I just remember waking up on the floor with my nightgown pulled up.” “And after that ?” continues the prosecutor. “I wanted to pretend that nothing had happened …” says Annabella Sciorra after a few seconds of silence.
This trauma will however have devastating effects. The American says she is isolated. She starts drinking and scarifies herself “many”, spreading her blood on a wall which she paints in red. When Harvey Weinstein resurfaces, while filming in London a few months later, and knocks on her hotel room, Annabella Sciorra asks to change establishments. She calls room service and concierge when he shows up again at his door in Cannes, in 1997, in underwear and a baby lotion in hand.
Once the testimony ofAnnabella Sciorra, senior defense counsel, Donna Rotunno, engaged in the exercise of cross-examination. On several occasions, she questions the sincerity of the actress, recalling that she does not remember the day or the month of the facts she relates. “You are a professional actress, aren't you?” questions the lawyer in the black jacket, not without innuendo. Subtly, Donna Rotunno slips a dated excerpt from a television interview, during which Annabella Sciorra jokes about lying.
While she dissects the testimony of the actress of Soprano, the defense of Harvey Weinstein highlights his responsibility and his choices during his interactions with the producer. His decision, for example, to accept that he drive her back to his hotel after they had just met. His choice to contact him after this meeting, or to consume the Valium he had given him. “Did Harvey Weinstein give you a glass of water to take this medicine?” questions Donna Rotunno, before tackling the evening of the alleged rape.
When you go to this dinner, Harvey Weinstein has already threatened to sue you. But you say to yourself, 'yes, of course, I'm going to this dinner'.during the trial
In a dry tone, the lawyer raised her voice and multiplied the questions, insisting on the reaction of Annabella Sciorra during and after the facts. “You asked the porter why he let him in? Did you file a complaint? Didn't you ask Harvey Weinstein what he was doing there? How did he get in? “” No, answers Annabella Sciorra calmly. He pushed open the door. ” “Did you try to scratch it? Did you scream?” continues the lawyer. Donna Rotunno responds to each response from the actress. “Did you keep shouting? When you woke up, did you go to the police? Did you go to the hospital? Did you call the emergency room?” “No”, repeats Annabella Sciorra.
Before the accusation, the actress confided, a few hours earlier, not having known how to qualify these acts of rape at the time. “I thought he was a normal, nice guy …” And Annabella Sciorra added, facing the defense: “I don't remember much in the year after my rape because the trauma was extreme.”