NEW YORK – After a day of graphic testimony in the Harvey Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial, the prosecution on Thursday called several secondary witnesses to the stand to corroborate aspects of earlier testimony by Weinstein accusers.
While one of the witnesses recounted his former girlfriend’s dismay after a meeting with Weinstein, a second witness seemed to be less certain about what he remembered of an alleged encounter between another accuser and Weinstein at a downtown bar.
First up on the stand was Lincoln Davies, a former boyfriend of accuser Dawn Dunning, who testified Wednesday. He described her demeanor when she returned home from a meeting with Weinstein in 2004.
“Did she tell you Weinstein met her at the door in a dressing gown?,” asked Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast. “Yes,” Davies responded.
“She was pretty shocked, upset, angry, and overall appalled, I would say,” Davies testified. “There was an arc of emotion, like anger and stuff like that … She ended up crying.”
On cross-examination by defense attorney Damon Cheronis, Davies said Dunning was looking forward to the meeting with Weinstein and never mentioned being afraid of him, even though, as she testified, Weinstein had groped her in a different meeting a few weeks before.
“She never told you that she was sexually assaulted by Mr. Weinstein a few weeks before that meeting?” Cheronis asked.
“Correct,” Davies said.
Next up was Maurizio Ferrigno, a former manager at Cipriani Soho, the restaurant and bar where accuser Tarale Wulff worked and Weinstein was a frequent guest. He was called to corroborate Wulff’s testimony that Weinstein approached her in the bar, took her upstairs to a dark corner and then masturbated in front of her.
Ferrigno acknowledged he once saw Weinstein and Wulff having a “conversation” while they headed upstairs at the bar, but he didn’t see what happened, didn’t notice her demeanor, didn’t talk to her and didn’t remember when this happened.
“There was nothing unusual that struck you at the time?” asked Cheronis. “Not at the time,” Ferrigno responded.
He said he remembered the interaction at the bar after talking to the district attorney’s office in 2019 and learning that Wulff had made an allegation.
“Are you testifying today because you actually remember seeing Mr. Weinstein going upstairs, or because the prosecutors reminded you and told you what Ms. Wulff said? Which is it?” Cheronis asked.
“I can’t say yes or no,” Ferrigno answered.
He said he remembered Weinstein and Wulff going up the stairs. “Did you remember before (prosecutors) told you that happened?,” Cheronis asked.
“Not really,” Ferrigno responded.
The day’s proceedings began with defense attorneys objecting to prosecutors’ calling Davies and Ferrigno, arguing they had not been admitted as witnesses through proper channels.
They were called to back up earlier testimony by the Molineux witnesses – accusers whose allegations are not charged but are being offered to demonstrate an alleged pattern of prior bad acts.
On Wednesday, Dunning described being groped by Weinstein in a hotel room and then later, at a separate meeting in a different hotel, being presented with contracts for roles in his movies in return for agreeing to a threesome. The latter incident would not be a sexual assault, defense attorney Arthur Aidala said.
Judge James Burke allowed both witnesses to testify, but cautioned prosecutors to be careful not to conflate the two alleged encounters in the Dunning testimony.
Much of Wednesday’s witness testimony was taken up by the two accusers, Dunning and Wulff, called by prosecutors to bolster their case that Weinstein engaged in an alleged pattern of “prior bad acts.”
Wulff, 43, a former actress who is now a model, testified that Weinstein raped her in the summer of 2005 at his downtown apartment in New York, where she went for what she thought was a meeting about getting a role in one of his movies. When she got there, he took her by the arms and put her on a bed.
“I told him, ‘I can’t,’ and he answered, ‘Don’t worry, I have a vasectomy.’ ” she said. “I just froze. Going blank is easier for me. It’s just easier for me to get past it. I just remember getting up. I don’t remember anything in between.”
She testified this encounter happened a few weeks after Weinstein approached her at Cipriani Soho. She said he took her by the arm upstairs and steered her to a dark corner where he made her stand in front of him while he masturbated under his untucked shirt. She said she froze, then ran away.
Dunning described two encounters with Weinstein in New York hotel rooms in 2004. In one encounter, she said that when they were alone and sitting on a bed, he put his hand up her skirt and touched her. She fled as he apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again.
In a second encounter a few weeks later, in which his assistant was present and he was dressed in a bathrobe, Weinstein told her she could have roles in three of his movies if she agreed to a threesome.
When she declined, he became enraged and screamed at her that this was how business was done in Hollywood. She said he said stars such as Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek had done the same to boost their careers. (There is no evidence this is true and both women have denied it.)
Two other witnesses were called to testify before the trial was adjourned for the day.
Casting director Monika Mikkelsen was called to testify about when she cast the Weinstein-produced movie “Pulse” for which Wulff hoped to audition in the summer of 2005, when she says Weinstein raped her. Mikkelsen said she cast the movie in late 2004 and the start of 2005.
The final witness of the day was lawyer Dev Sen, a partner at the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, who testified that his firm, then working for Weinstein, hired Black Cube, an investigative firm made up of ex-Mossad agents, to investigate journalists working on exposés of Weinstein.
Sen’s testimony allowed prosecutors to enter the Black Cube contract into evidence. The existence of this contract has been known since 2017, when one of the named partners, David Boies, publicly admitted it was a mistake and apologized.
On Friday, the second complaining witness in the case, Jessica Mann, who says Weinstein raped her in 2013, is expected to take the stand. A third and final Molineux witness is scheduled to testify Monday, completing the bulk of a prosecution case that began last week.
So far, two other accusers have testified about what they say Weinstein did to them. Ex-production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi, one of the complaining witnesses, sobbed on the stand as she described how Weinstein sexually assaulted her at his New York City apartment in 2006.
Harvey Weinstein trial:Roommate backs Mimi Haleyi’s accusation, says ‘it sounded like rape’
Earlier, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra choked up in describing to the jury how Weinstein pushed his way into her New York apartment in the winter of 1993-94 and raped her, then told her in a “threatening” way not to tell anyone.
‘Sopranos’ actress Annabella Sciorra takes the stand in Harvey Weinstein trial, details alleged rape
Weinstein is not charged with raping Sciorra; her accusation is too old to prosecute. Like the Molineux witnesses, she is intended to help prosecutors prove that Weinstein is a “serial predator” as defined by New York law, which could increase a prison sentence if he is convicted.
Weinstein is charged with five sex crimes, including rape and assault, stemming from encounters with Haleyi and Mann. He has pleaded not guilty and denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.