Harvey Weinstein Trial: Model to Allege Groping in Hotel Bathroom

Harvey Weinstein Trial: Model to Allege Groping in Hotel Bathroom

A sixth accuser took the witness stand in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial on Wednesday and tell a familiar story about him.

Prosecutors said the witness, Lauren Young, was a 23-year-old model and aspiring actress when Mr. Weinstein, the once-powerful movie producer, in Los Angeles expressed interest in Ms. Young and offered to help with her career, prosecutors said.

A year later, Mr. Weinstein lured Ms. Young to a hotel suite in Beverly Hills, Calif., with the promise they would discuss a script she had written, prosecutors said. But instead, they said, he trapped her in a bathroom, groped her, masturbated and ejaculated onto the floor.

Ms. Young began testifying in State Supreme Court in Manhattan late Wednesday morning, but had yet to describe the alleged assault when the judge adjourned the proceedings for lunch.

Mr. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five felony counts, including rape, criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Ms. Young is also one of two accusers in a criminal complaint filed against Mr. Weinstein by prosecutors in Los Angeles.

The charges in the criminal indictment in Manhattan stem from allegations made by two women: Jessica Mann, who says the producer raped her in a Manhattan hotel in 2013, and Miriam Haley, who says he forced oral sex on her at his home in 2006. The account from a third woman, Annabella Sciorra, the actress who has accused him of raping her in 1993, is meant to support a predatory sexual assault charge.

Prosecutors in New York won permission to call Ms. Young and two other women — Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff — to testify about the way Mr. Weinstein allegedly attacked them to establish a pattern of behavior. He was not charged with crimes in the Dunning and Wulff cases because they were too old to prosecute.

The trial is one of the most closely watched proceedings in recent history, seen by many as a critical moment in the #MeToo movement, the global reckoning prompted in October 2017 after several women went public with allegations that Mr. Weinstein had sexually harassed or assaulted them.

Ms. Young, prosecutors said, met Mr. Weinstein and his associate Claudia Salinas at a dinner during Oscars season in 2012. Ms. Young mentioned to Ms. Salinas that she was writing a script, a dark comedy about her life. A year later, prosecutors said, Ms. Salinas contacted Ms. Young to schedule a meeting at a bar in the Montage Beverly Hills, a luxury hotel.

Mr. Weinstein, prosecutors said, claimed he had to prepare a speech that he had to give for the director Quentin Tarantino that night and asked the women to come up to his suite to finish the conversation.

Mr. Weinstein continued to talk to the women as they entered the room. Prosecutors said Ms. Young, while talking to Mr. Weinstein about her script, followed him into a bathroom, and Ms. Salinas shut the door, trapping her. Mr. Weinstein blocked Ms. Young from exiting by opening a shower door, prosecutors said. Then he undressed, started masturbating, pulled down her dress, groped her breasts and ejaculated onto the floor, prosecutors said.

Ms. Young told two friends, but did not report the incident to the police, prosecutors said.

Within days, prosecutors said, Mr. Weinstein offered her a job on a modeling show and invited her to an Oscars party. Ms. Young then attended a meeting with one of Mr. Weinstein’s assistants, but ignored follow-up emails. She never spoke to Mr. Weinstein again.

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers will likely attempt to discredit Ms. Young’s account, suggesting that it is not plausible that she could have been locked inside of a bathroom from the outside.

“I have never been to California other than once, but I can tell you there isn’t a hotel room in California where you can lock the door from the outside, not a bathroom,” Damon Cheronis, one of Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers, said in his opening statement. “Those aren’t little details. Those are going to be significant details because you are here for the only reason to find out what happened, to judge the credibility of these witnesses.”

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