He offered roles in exchange for sex

He offered roles in exchange for sex

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NEW YORK – After a week of emotional, often graphic testimony in the Harvey Weinstein sex crimes trial, the jury heard Wednesday from a former aspiring actress who described being sexually assaulted by Weinstein in the mid-2000s. 

Dawn Dunning, who met Weinstein at a nightclub where she worked, said she met with him over several months in 2004 about possible roles in his movies and doing a screen test.

“He would make comments about my looks and my body, but it wasn’t anything worse than what I’d heard in nightclubs,” Dunning said. “I never thought it was unsafe.” 

She met him in a hotel in Soho where he was working on a project in a suite packed with people working. She sensed no danger, no red flags, she said. 

“I was talking with Harvey and he kind of led me into the other room, and I sat next to him on the bed, and I was wearing a skirt that day and he put his hand up my skirt,” Dunning said, starting to cry as she described Weinstein touching her. 

“I stood up. I was shocked. I wasn’t expecting that to happen,” she said. “He started talking really fast, he was like, don’t make a big deal out of this, he said it wouldn’t happen again.”

Harvey Weinstein arrives with lead defense attorney Donna Rotunno for his sex crimes trial in New York on Jan. 29, 2020.

She said she left shortly after. “I was just trying to rationalize it in my head,” she said, her voice breaking again. “I just gave him the benefit of the doubt that it wouldn’t happen again. I didn’t yell at him or scream or anything.”

She said she didn’t tell anyone. “I was embarrassed. I wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen. I didn’t want to be a victim. …(Before), I was trying to get work from him, so it was a work relationship. It was a really big deal for me.” 

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