Former production assistant Mimi Haleyi broke down in court on Monday as she described how Harvey Weinstein allegedly performed oral sex on her against her will while she was on her period in his New York apartment in 2006.
Haleyi, 42, is the second of six accusers who will testify at the Miramax co-founder’s high-profile rape trial entering its second week at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Her allegations and that of another woman, Jessica Mann, who claimed Weinstein raped her in a New York City hotel in 2013, are at the heart of the Weinstein trial.
Haleyi began to cry when she recounted how Weinstein sent a car to take her to his SoHo apartment on July 10, 2006 for what she thought was a business meeting.
She claim she was pushed onto a bed, had her tampon pulled out and assaulted in what appeared to be a child’s bedroom or playroom.
‘He pushed me down, he held me. I said no, no. At that time I started realizing what was actually happening. I’m being raped,’ she said.
‘I was crying no, no. I told him I’m on my period. It was as if he didn’t believe me. I said something like where is it then? He literally pulled my tampon out,’ she added.
Describing the bedroom Haleyi said: ‘I remember seeing children’s drawings on the walls and some hair colors on the shelf.’
Former Weinstein Co. production assistant Mimi Haleyi (center in beige jacket) took the witness the stand at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial on Monday and recounted how the Hollywood mogul allegedly sexually assaulted her in his New York City apartment in 2006. Pictured arriving to court Monday morning
Weinstein pictured arriving to the Manhattan criminal court house Monday morning feebly using a walker
Weinstein, who is accused of five felony counts including rape and predatory sexual assault, has denied any wrongdoing. He has made a frail appearance in court throughout his trial, often arriving clutching onto a walker
Haleyi, who worked for Project Runway – a reality show which Weinstein produced, pictured arriving to court on Monday
On Monday Haleyi, dressed in a cream trench coat, only acknowledged Weinstein to identify him to the court.
She spoke so quietly she was given a microphone to testify as Weinstein blankly stared at her.
In her testimony she recalled first meeting the movie giant at the 2004 premiere of the movie Aviator, a Martin Scorsese film Miramax produced.
In March of 2006 she bumped into him at the Cannes film festival and asked if he could help her with a job as she had no employment and had just lost her apartment. In a meeting at a suite at the Majestic Hotel in Cannes she saw red flags when he made a comment about her legs and asked her for a massage, she says.
‘Then suddenly it turned into him asking me if I gave massages, if I could give him a massage. I declined and said perhaps you should contact the front desk to organize a massage,’ she said.
Haleyi, whose legal name is Miriam Haley, said no and left the hotel.
‘I was extremely humiliated. I (had been) so excited to see him. I was crying. I waited until I was outside the hotel and burst into tears,’ she added.
Days later Weinstein’s assistant called Haleyi saying she landed a job on the set of Project Runway, a reality fashion competition show he produced.
Weinstein later invited Haleyi onto a private jet to attend a fashion show in Paris with him, but she declined by bringing up his sketchy reputation.
Weinstein pictured watching as Mimi Haleyi is questioned by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast in front of Judge James Burke during Monday’s trial
‘He was very overwhelming and very very persistent. He would not accept the no. I just didn’t know how to shut it down so I said you know you have a terrible reputation with women? He got offended and stepped back,’ she said at the witness stand.
She later accepted a trip to Los Angeles for the premiere of the movie Clerks 2, paid by the Weinstein company. Haleyi said she was only looking for ’employment opportunities’ and did not have any romantic or sexual interest in Weinstein.
In the July incident, one day before the LA trip, Haleyi said she and Weinstein started out by having a seemingly normal conversation on a couch, sitting a few feet apart.
‘At some point early in me being there he lunged at me and was trying to kiss me. I said oh no, no, no. I tried to reject him and push him away but he kept kissing and fondling me. I got up and tried to walk away from him but he kept coming towards me. I was walking backwards trying to get away,’ Haleyi said in her testimony.
He ended up pushing her into the bedroom and pinned her down on the bed.
‘He was holding me down by my wrists and also his body on top of me and was pushing down every time I tried to get up – no, stay!’ she recalled.
‘I expressed the entire time I just said no, no, I don’t want this to happen this is not going to happen. I was just trying to tell him stop,’ she added.
Haleyi said she began to cry but then tried to compose herself. She said she tried to flee but when she realized she couldn’t she ‘checked out’ as Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her.
When he finished she left in ‘shock’.
She still ended up going to LA the next day because it was booked some time before and she felt under pressure.
Haleyi said she didn’t report the incident to police because, ‘Mr. Weinstein has a lot more power and resources and connections and I didn’t think I’d stand a chance.’
Lawyer for Weinstein’s accusers including Haleyi pictured arriving to court Monday morning
A member of the prosecution pictured pushing a cart loaded with files for Weinstein’s trial on Monday
Haleyi first came forward with her allegations in a press conference in October 2017 in New York (above)
The following month Haleyi agreed to meet with Weinstein again in his suite at the Tribeca Grand Hotel in Manhattan because he was ‘persistent and insistent’. Haleyi said that ‘I felt like I was trying to regain some sort of power’.
She she says she ended up being assaulted in that meeting as well.
‘Almost instantly he basically just took my hand and pulled me towards the bed. At that point I thought, well I just don’t know,’ Haleyi testified.
Speaking through tears she added: ‘I felt like an idiot. I was not interested in him and he convinced me to meet him again just to do something like that to me against.’
Weinstein landed Haleyi a job as a production assistant on Project Runway, which he produced, in 2006. Weinstein pictured posing with show host Heidi Klum during the Season 3 finale in September 2006
‘He pulled me into the bedroom and I didn’t resist, I just lay there. He had intercourse with me. He said something like you’re a w***e, a b***h.’
She said she didn’t tell anyone because it was ’embarrassing’ and she felt ‘humiliated’.
Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast asked: ‘Did you want to have sex with Harvey Weinstein that night?’
Haleyi said: ‘No’.
Hast asked: ‘Did you do anything to make him think you wanted to have sex with him that night?’
Haleyi said: ‘No’.
She added: ‘I put it away in a box and pretended it didn’t happen and carried on as usual’.
Describing how she felt during the rape she said: ‘I felt numb. I felt humiliated and I felt numb.’
Weinstein, 67, has appeared frail during his court appearances and on Monday hobbled into the courthouse clutching onto a walker, just as he has in the previous days of the trial.
He faces life behind bars if convicted on all counts. He is accused of five felony counts including rape and predatory sexual assault and has denied any wrongdoing.
Haleyi went public with her allegations in an October 2017 press conference alongside her lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents other Weinstein accusers including Soprano’s actress Annabella Sciorra who testified just last week.
In opening statements last week, prosecutor Meghan Hast said there was a subsequent hotel room encounter that Haleyi didn’t reveal in 2017. Hast said that though Haleyi didn’t want to have intercourse with Weinstein, she kept still and ‘let him degrade her.’
In testifying, Haleyi will have to deal with a defense team that said it plans to confront Weinstein’s accusers with their own words – messages they exchanged with Weinstein well after the alleged assaults. Weinstein’s lawyers are focusing on the positive-sounding emails and texts calls the victims exchanged with Weinstein to call into question the accusers’ accounts.
The movie giant’s defense team is trying to paint the accusers as opportunistic women who willingly had transnational sex with Weinstein in order to advance their own careers and some of the accusers continued intimate relationships with him after the alleged attacks, his attorneys claim.
Some of Haleyi’s messages were made public last year when Weinstein’s lawyers sought to get his case dismissed. One sent to Weinstein’s phone in 2007 reads: ‘Hi! Just wondering if u have any news on whether Harvey will have time to see me before he leaves? X Miriam.’
Last week’s trial ended with Rosie Perez (left and right) testifying about her emotional phone calls where her friend actress Annabella Sciorra claimed Weinstein raped her in 1993 in her New York apartment and ruined a family heirloom nightgown of hers in the act. The alleged rape is not one of the incidents Weinstein is charged over but prosecutors were allowed to bring Sciorra into the courtroom to talk about it to support their case, specifically the charge of predatory sexual assault. Perez is known for her role in Do The Right Thing (right)
Annabella Sciorra cried as she took the stand in Harvey Weinstein’s New York trial on Thursday to tell how he raped her in 1993, a year before confiding fully in Perez about it. She appeared in The Sopranos as Tony Soprano’s mistress (right)
Harvey Weinstein held the railing as he left court at the end of the day on Friday for his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault
A court sketch shows Harvey Weinstein listening to testimony from Rosie Perez as his sex crimes trial on Friday
Weinstein’s defense team will argue that Haleyi and the producer had a consensual relationship for years where he gave her tickets to movie premieres when she asked for them and flew her to London shortly after the alleged assault. Two months later when she learned Weinstein was in London she wrote, ‘I tried to change my flight to get there to see you,’ Damon Cheronis, one of Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers, said in his opening statement.
A year after the alleged assault, Haleyi pitched a TV show to Weinstein, Cheronis said.
‘Harvey tried to help her, and she sends him a very nice email talking about how he’s always supported her. That is what really happened,’ Cheronis said in his statement according to the New York Times.
Last week actress Annabella Sciorra testified that Mr. Weinstein had raped her in her Manhattan apartment in the early 1990s. She said on a second occasion he showed up uninvited outsider her hotel room wearing just his underwear and carrying baby oil in one hand and a videotape in another.
Last week’s trial ended with Rosie Perez testifying about her emotional phone calls where Sciorra said Weinstein raped her in 1993 in her New York apartment and ruined a family heirloom nightgown of hers in the act.
The alleged rape is not one of the incidents Weinstein is charged over because it is too old to support a separate rape charge, but prosecutors hope it will prove that he is a repeat sexual predator. That charge could put him in prison for life.
Who are Weinstein’s accusers who will testify?
Six women are expected to testify at Weinstein’s rape trial, while more than 90 women have accused the Miramax founder of sexual misconduct, harassment, rape, and unwanted touching.
One is actress Annabella Sciorra who claims Weinstein raped her in her New York City apartment in 1993.
A second is Haleyi, who claims Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her inside his apartment in 2006.
A third accuser, Jessica Mann, claims the movie mogul of raping her in a Midtown Manhattan hotel in 2013.
Costume designer Dawn Dunning claims Weinstein sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into having a three-way with him and his assistant when she was 24 at a Manhattan hotel in 2004.
Aspiring actress Tarale Wulff claims Weinstein masturbated in front of her as she was working as a cocktail waitress at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan and he later assaulted her in his bedroom.
A sixth woman, Lauren Young, claims he groped her in a hotel, masturbated and ejaculated onto a bathroom floor in February 2012 at a dinner event during Oscar season when she was 22.
In addition to these six accusers the judge is allowing four other women to testify to establish a pattern of behavior, even though most of their allegations are too old to prosecute as crimes according to state law.
The Harvey Weinstein story: From studio to courtroom
1979 – Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob found independent film distribution and production company Miramax, naming it after their parents, Miriam and Max.
June 1993 – The Walt Disney Company buys Miramax for $80 million, but the brothers stay on until 2005.
May 1994 – Director Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction,’ starring Uma Thurman and John Travolta and backed by Miramax, wins the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.
1997 – Miramax wins its first Academy Award for best picture with ‘The English Patient.’
1999 – Miramax’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’ wins seven Oscars – including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow.
2004 – Weinstein divorces his first wife Eve Chilton, with whom he has three daughters.
2005 – The Weinstein brothers leave Miramax to set up their own production company, The Weinstein Company.
2007 – Weinstein marries English fashion director Georgina Chapman.
October 5, 2017 – The New York Times reports Weinstein settled with eight women who accused him of unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment over three decades. Weinstein in a statement apologized for causing pain to colleagues and said he was taking a leave of absence and entering therapy. Reuters did not independently verify the details of the New York Times report.
October 6, 2017 – Weinstein takes indefinite leave of absence from The Weinstein Co. The company later says he is fired.
October 10, 2017 – The New Yorker reports allegations by 13 women who said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who said he raped them. Weinstein again denies non-consensual sex. Reuters did not independently verify the details of The New Yorker’s accounts. Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, says she is leaving him.
October 14, 2017 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that selects the Oscar winners, expels Weinstein.
October 2017 – Actress Alyssa Milano fuels the expansion of the #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, by writing on Twitter: ‘If you’ve ever been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.’ In the following weeks, #MeToo would be used by millions of women.
January 1, 2018 – Hollywood celebrities launch the Time’s Up campaign to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.
May 25, 2018 – Weinstein surrenders to New York police on charges of rape and a criminal sex act involving alleged assaults against two women, in 2004 and 2013.
June 5, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to the charges.
June 9, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new charges of sexually assaulting a third woman in 2006.
October 11, 2018 – Weinstein wins dismissal of the charges over the alleged 2004 assault. Charges involving the other two women remain pending.
January 17, 2019 – Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s defense attorney, issues statement saying he is quitting, without elaborating.
January 25, 2019 – Weinstein appears in court to announce new defense team.
April 26, 2019 – Weinstein’s trial is delayed until Sept. 9 to allow defense more time to gather evidence.
July 11, 2019 – Weinstein hires third legal team after second team of defense attorneys exits the case.
August 26, 2019 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new indictment involving the same two women accusing him of two counts of predatory sexual assault, in 2006 and 2013. His trial is pushed back to Jan. 6, 2020.
December 11, 2019 – Weinstein and his bankrupt studio reach tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Representatives for Weinstein declined to comment.
January 6, 2020 – Los Angeles prosecutors announce sexual assault charges against Weinstein just hours after he appears in a New York court for the start of his trial on rape charge; Weinstein’s rape trial begins in New York.
Reporting by Reuters