A TV production assistant has sobbed as she told jurors at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial that she tried to fight off the disgraced movie mogul and told him “no, no, no” while he sexually assaulted her
As one of two women whose assault claims led to Weinstein being charged, Mimi Haleyi detailed her allegation that he forcibly performed oral sex on her at his New York City apartment in 2006.
“I did reject him, but he insisted. Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down,” she said, adding that she told him she was menstruating in an attempt to deter him.
She said she thought “I’m being raped”, and considered different options. “If I scream rape, will someone hear me?” she wondered.
“I checked out and decided to endure it,” she said. “That was the safest thing I could do.”
Haleyi, 42, also described a second encounter a few weeks after the alleged assault in a Manhattan hotel room where she said she “went numb” as he took her hand, pulled her towards the bed and had intercourse with her.
Haleyi said she “just felt like an idiot” for letting him convince her to meet again, but thought seeing him could help her regain power as she tried to make sense of the alleged assault.
Asked if she wanted to have sex with Weinstein that night, she said, “No.”
She said she did not call the police because she was working in the US on a tourist visa and was scared of Weinstein’s power, telling jurors: “Obviously, Mr Weinstein has a lot more power and resources and connections and so forth. I didn’t think I’d stand a chance.”
Last week, Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra told the court that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s. While outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, her allegations could be a factor as prosecutors look to prove Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behaviour.
Born in Helsinki and raised in Sweden, she said she met Weinstein while in her 20s at the 2004 London premiere of Leonardo DiCaprio film The Aviator.
They crossed paths again at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and, when she expressed interest in working on one of his productions, he invited her to his hotel room and asked for a massage.
She declined, saying she was “extremely humiliated”.
“I felt stupid because I was so excited to go see him and he treated me that way,” she said.
More meetings followed, and Weinstein secured her a job helping on the set of Project Runway, the reality show he produced. She told the trial that before the alleged assault, Weinstein showed up at her apartment and begged her to join him a trip to Paris for a fashion show.
“At one point, because I just didn’t know how to shut it down, so to speak… I said, ‘You know you have a terrible reputation with women, I’ve heard’.”
The then-revered Hollywood mogul “got offended”, she said. “He stepped back and said, ‘What have you heard?’”
On cross-examination, defence lawyer Damon Cheronis seized on Ms Haleyi’s continued interactions with Weinstein, displaying on a large screen a friendly email she sent him after they ran into each other in Cannes in 2008.
Ms Haleyi conceded she had been in contact with him “occasionally” and that she sent the 2008 email after a newspaper article reminded her of a conversation they had weeks before the alleged assault.
The jury of seven men and five women heard last week from Barbara Ziv, a forensic psychiatrist who said most sex assault victims continue to have contact with their attackers, often under threat of retaliation if the victims tell anyone what happened.