Weinstein accuser takes to the witness box in LA after New York evidence

Lauren Young said she was paralysed by fear when Weinstein blocked her from leaving the bathroom, performed a sex act in front of her and groped her.
Weinstein accuser takes to the witness box in LA after New York evidence

By Andrew Dalton, Associated Press

The New York trial of Harvey Weinstein and its California sequel had a rare crossover as the only accuser of the former movie magnate to give evidence at both took to the witness box in Los Angeles and said he sexually assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel bathroom in 2013 while she repeatedly told him “no”.

Lauren Young said she was paralysed by fear when Weinstein blocked her from leaving the bathroom, performed a sex act in front of her and groped her.

“I was scared of Harvey Weinstein — that he would hurt me, or send someone to hurt me, or ruin my career, or make my life hell,” Ms Young told the court.

When Ms Young gave evidence in New York in February 2020, she was not one of the accusers whose stories led to Weinstein’s conviction for rape and sexual assault and a 23-year prison sentence.

 

But prosecutors called on her to give evidence to help establish a pattern of Weinstein preying on women.

In Los Angeles, Weinstein is charged with sexual battery by restraint for the same allegations.

On Monday, Ms Young said in early 2013 she was a model aspiring to be an actress and screenwriter, and through Weinstein’s assistant, who had become a friend, she set up a meeting with him at the Montage Hotel on the night of February 19 about a script she was working on.

She said Weinstein was distracted and uninterested during the meeting, suggesting instead she might be a reality television host on a show like America’s Next Top Model, which his company helped produce.

Weinstein soon said he had to get ready to go present an award to director Quentin Tarantino at the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival, and she should accompany him to his room to continue the talk, the court was told.

Ms Young said Weinstein led her into the room and then the bathroom, and his assistant shut the door behind them and left them alone.

 

She said she was stunned as he quickly took his clothes off and got briefly in the shower, then stepped out and blocked her from leaving when she went for the door.

“I was disgusted,” she said. “I had never seen a big guy like that naked. I actually laughed nervously.”

She said she backed up against a sink and turned away from Weinstein. He then unzipped her dress and touched her with one hand as he performed a sex act with the other.

“I was really grossed out by his body and the look he was giving me,” Ms Young said. “I was wondering, ‘How do I get out of here safe? What am I going to do?'”

Ms Young said she told Weinstein “no” repeatedly. She later left the hotel and never saw him again.

Like all the women Weinstein is charged with sexually assaulting as the trial, Ms Young is going by Jane Doe in court.

Harvey Weinstein
Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women, and has repeatedly denied that he engaged in any sex that was not consensual (PA)

Ms Young has given consent to be named through her lawyer.

Her evidence closely hewed to her account during the New York trial. But during cross-examination, Weinstein’s lawyer Alan Jackson said it differed in many respects from her early accounts to police starting in 2018, when she called a hotline set up for reports about Weinstein after the #MeToo movement exploded.

Ms Young initially told detectives the assault had taken place a year earlier, days after she had been at a dinner with Weinstein at a Beverly Hills restaurant. Mr Jackson said she was saying the same as recently as 2020.

“I was sure that I was sexually assaulted,” Ms Young said.

“That wasn’t my question,” the lawyer replied. “I’m asking about the time. Something that would stick in your mind.”

Mr Jackson also brought up her previous confusion about the site of the assault in early interviews with authorities.

“As you told your story the first three times, you had no idea what hotel this even took place at,” Mr Jackson said. “You didn’t even mention the Montage.”

“I had pushed it out of my memory,” Ms Young said.

She acknowledged she did not know the hotel was the Montage, now known as the Maybourne, until a police detective suggested it might be and she went to look at it.

According to allegations in an indictment and court evidence, Ms Young’s assault came a day after Weinstein raped an Italian model at a different hotel during the run-up to that year’s Academy Awards, where Weinstein was annually a major player.

Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women, and has repeatedly denied that he engaged in any sex that was not consensual.

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