A model testified in court Wednesday that in 2013 Harvey Weinstein lured her to his hotel suite, trapped her in the bathroom with him while he masturbated, and told her, “How am I going to know if you can act? … This is what all the actresses do.”
Lauren Marie Young, 30, is the last alleged victim to testify in Weinstein’s rape trial, signaling the prosecution’s case against the disgraced Hollywood producer may soon be coming to an end.
The charges against Weinstein stem from two women — Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley. Mann testified for three days, recounting how Weinstein allegedly raped her in 2013. Haley had previously said in court that Weinstein forced oral sex on her sometime in 2006. The allegations lodged by Annabella Sciorra, who testified at the start of the trial, will be used to support a predatory sexual assault charge. Prosecutors questioned three other women — Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff, and Young — to prove Weinstein’s history of prior bad acts. While Young's alleged assault took place in Los Angeles, Judge James Burke allowed prosecutors to question her in Weinstein's New York criminal trial. Weinstein has been charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint in LA.
Young, who entered the courtroom Wednesday smiling and greeted the jury, said that she was 22 years old when she first met Weinstein at a post-Oscars dinner in Los Angeles. She said she struck up a friendship with another woman who was at the dinner named Claudia Salinas.
A year after that dinner, Young said that Salinas contacted her and said Weinstein wanted to meet with her at the Montage hotel in LA to discuss a script she was working on.
“I was excited. I put on my best dress. I was excited to network and pitch my ideas,” she said Wednesday.
Young said she first met Salinas at the hotel bar, where Weinstein later joined them and appeared preoccupied, looking at his phone the entire time she was pitching the script.
Young said Weinstein then lured her and Salinas to his hotel suite under the pretense that he needed to get ready to accept an award for Quentin Tarantino.
Once inside the suite, Young said she was walking behind Weinstein while speaking to him. Salinas was behind her, she said. When Weinstein walked into the bathroom and Young had taken a few steps in behind him, she said Salinas closed the door behind her. Weinstein, meanwhile, turned on the shower and began undressing.
During cross-examination, Weinstein’s lawyer Damon Cheronis focused minutely on what happened inside the bathroom, asking Young how “a big fat man” could pull a “ninja move” and take his clothes off as fast as she’d suggested.
Young said she felt trapped as Salinas had pressured her into entering the room, and Weinstein was now blocking her from leaving the bathroom.
“I was in shock and laughed nervously. I have never done that before, but I was really worried and scared that he was going to hurt me or something,” she said.
“He kept saying, ‘We’re just talking, we’re just going to talk,’ while I was backing away towards the sink,” she said. When she reached the sink, Young said, she turned away because she did not want to look at Weinstein’s naked body.
In her testimony, Young repeated details about Weinstein’s body and genitals that Mann had mentioned earlier in the week.
“I remember his body was hairy, with rolls, moles," she said. "He had a disgusting-looking penis, like he had been cut, not a normal-looking scar from circumcision ... I didn’t notice balls, just a penis."
Young began to cry on the stand as she testified how Weinstein physically turned her around and pulled her dress down. She said he then groped her as he masturbated in front of her.
“He was saying, 'How am I going to know if you can act? ... This is what all the actresses do,’” she said, adding that she repeatedly told him no and that she was not interested. She said that she could not stop him because her arms were pinned inside the sleeves of her dress, which he had partially removed. “He kept grabbing at my breast and squinting at me. He continued to masturbate and ejaculated onto a towel.”
Young also said that Weinstein tried to touch her vagina, but she managed to move her body away in time.
Earlier in the day prosecutors said that Young recently found the dress she was wearing the night of the alleged assault. The dress was turned over to the Los Angeles district attorney’s office and may be tested for Weinstein's DNA in relation to the charges he faces there, prosecutors said.
On Weinstein’s attorney’s prior request, the dress was presented in court Wednesday. Cheronis held up the white lace dress and repeatedly asked Young how Weinstein could have unbuttoned it, pulled it down to expose her, and pin her arms by her side.
Young said that once Weinstein exited the bathroom, she left the suite as fast as she could. She said she eventually cut all contact with Weinstein, who tried to reach out to her a few times through his assistants at the Weinstein Company.
Years later, Young said, she visited a number of hotels in Beverly Hills, wanting to remember the hotel the alleged assault took place. The lobby at the Montage had been remodeled, she said, so she was unable to recognize it at first. When she saw the bathroom in the hotel’s suite, she said she broke down.
“I just knew that was where it happened,” she said on Wednesday. “I knew even in the first three steps, but once I was in there I just started crying because I realized everything that I had remembered was true."
Weinstein's attorney will continue cross-examining Young on Thursday.