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Harvey Weinstein: A new civil lawsuit alleges he raped a 17-year-old in the 1990s


The lawsuit also names as defendants Weinstein’s brother, Robert Weinstein, their company Miramax and Disney, which owned Miramax for a time. The suit alleges Robert Weinstein and other executives and employees turned a blind-eye to the alleged abuses and some were complicit in facilitating some encounters.  

Harvey Weinstein, 68, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for his conviction in New York for charges of criminal sexual act and rape. Through his attorney, he denied the latest allegations.  

“Mr. Weinstein categorically denies the allegations made anonymously against him years, if not decades, later. He absolutely denies the allegations that he had inappropriate sexual contact with someone underage, and will vigorously defend himself against these bold allegations,” Weinstein’s civil attorney, Imran Ansari, said in a statement to CNN on Friday afternoon.

“In any event, some of these claims, including those alleged to have occurred in the 1980s and 1990s, may be barred by the applicable statute of limitations, and not subject to any exceptions under the law, as these plaintiffs do not appear to be complainants in Mr. Weinstein’s criminal case,” Ansari added.

Similar to previous accusations against Weinstein, the four “Jane Does” say Weinstein used his position of power and threatened to ruin their careers in the entertainment industry if they exposed the alleged assaults.  

A woman identified as Jane Doe II, now 43, alleges she met Harvey Weinstein in a hotel room in 1994 for what she thought was a business meeting when she was approximately 17 years old.

A nearly naked Weinstein greeted her at the door and despite her rebuffs he forced her to perform oral sex and then raped her, the lawsuit says. Weinstein took her driver’s license before he let her leave the room, threatening to ruin her career and physically harm her and her family, according to the lawsuit. 

Jane Doe 1 alleges Weinstein lured her back to a suite at the Hotel Barrière Le Majestic during the Cannes Film Festival in France in 1984, when she was about 34, according to the lawsuit. The suit says he jammed his tongue into her mouth and groped her breasts and genitals before she escaped. 

Jane Doe 3 was about 26 in 2008 when she met Weinstein at Cipriani’s Restaurant in New York City, the lawsuit says. The Hollywood producer told her that he’d set up a meeting through his secretary. A few days later under the guise of a business meeting at his SoHo apartment, Weinstein raped the woman and threatened to “come after her” if she told anyone about the assault, the lawsuit alleges.  

Weinstein trapped Jane Doe 4 in a hotel suite in 2013, the lawsuit alleges, when she was about 28 and attending the Venice Film Festival. She brought a friend with her that night but Weinstein asked the friend to leave and ultimately forced the woman to perform oral sex on him, the lawsuit alleges. She became fearful Weinstein would end her career if she came forward and decided not to come forward then, the suit says.

 

These are the women who testified against Harvey Weinstein

The lawsuit filed by New York attorney Jordan Merson seeks monetary compensation from all of the named defendants for medical expenses and the emotional suffering the Jane Does have endured.   

“Disney owned Miramax, Miramax paid settlements to multiple women who were victims of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse. Based on Disney’s control of Miramax finances, Disney knew or should have known of these payments, which should have prompted additional inquiry and investigation,” the lawsuit alleges. 

CNN has reached out to Disney, Miramax and Weinstein’s brother Robert for comment on the lawsuit.

Weinstein still faces criminal charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles, and he has previously denied the allegations. 

CNN’s Chloe Melas contributed to this report.



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Harvey Weinstein: Here’s what he said in court before his 23-year sentence



In comments that stretched for about 20 minutes, Weinstein expressed remorse, defended his relationships with the women who testified against him, said he was “confused,” bragged about the charity money he raised after 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy, lamented that his children won’t speak to him and fretted about the future of the American legal system.

His statement was unexpected and, perhaps, unwise. In general, defendants like Weinstein, who plans to appeal his guilty verdict and faces other rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles, are advised not to speak because what they say can be used against them, according to Michelle Simpson Tuegel, an attorney who has worked in criminal defense.

First of all, to all the women who testified, we may have different truths, but I have great remorse for all of you. I have great remorse for all the men and women going through this crisis right now in our country.

You know, the movement started basically with me, and I think what happened, you know, I was the first example, and now there are thousands of men who are being accused and a regeneration of things that I think none of us understood.

I think that — I can’t help looking at Jessica and Mimi and hope that something of our old friendship in me could emerge, but I’m sure like me, they have lawyers who say to them be careful of what you say.

I read, you know, those letters where people talked about, you know, missing you, loving you, that kind of thing. As you know, having a serious friendship, that is what I believe that I had with Mimi and Jessica. You know, I really, really was maybe hypnotic and under that impression that I had that feeling, that I had that relationship.

That five years with Jessica and the years that I knew Mimi were always filled with, don’t go on the plane Harv, I want to have dinner with you first from Mimi. Or, Harv, whatever, let’s get,you know, can you look at this idea I have for a television series. Or Harv, I’m in Cannes, can I go to the premier. Or Jessica, can I get into the Soho Club, which is a very exclusive, tough place to get into. But she needed it for herself. I got her a job at the Peninsula Hotel which she excelled at for awhile.

I’m not going to say these aren’t great people, I had wonderful times with these people, you know. It is just I’m totally confused and I think men are confused about all of these issues.

You know, I just — dealing with the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, I’m worried about this country in a sense too. I’m worried there is a repeat of the blacklist there was in the 1950’s when lots of men like myself, Dalton Trumbo, one of the great examples, did not work, went to jail because people thought they were communists.

You know, there was a scare, and that is what happened, and I think that is what is happening now all over this country.

Two years ago, we wrote a letter to 15 friends, I think, the ADA quoted part of it, but the part of it that was the most important part was I’m a builder, I know how to build, and I know how to generate, you know, things on a charitable nature, and I know how to pass my success forward.

I think even Mimi and Jessica would say that I was generous, you know, in that part of the relationship.

The thing that I wanted to do in that letter was I wanted to build a hospital, but not a hospital like the regular hospital, a hospital that deals with this, rehabilitation and redemption; people losing their jobs over the fact they testified for me, or people being afraid to testify that they will lose their jobs. That is not the right atmosphere for this United States of America. It is wrong, you know, and that is what is happening. Everybody is on some sort of blacklist.

I had no great powers in this industry. Miramax, at the height of its fame, was a smaller company than by far any Walt Disney, any Sony, Paramount. I could not blackball anybody, because if I said don’t use that actress, the guys at Warner Brothers would say I’m going to use it to … spite that bastard, whatever. That is what it was. But it became blown up like power, power, power. I was not about power, I was about making great movies, I was a perfectionist, and I think I drove myself crazy.

I’m not going to also run away from what the District Attorney said about some of the things I did say. I had a fight with my brother, yes, people said I said bad things to people, but there are so many people, thousands of people who would say great things about me.

Sixty executives in this industry were trained by me. They are at the top of their field. They were running studios in top positions in this country.

When I was an assistant at Paramount, they said if you are five minutes late, don’t come in, or they would black me the whole day.

There never was in our industry a book that said this is how it should be. We always passed it on from assistant to assistant. An assistant was almost like if you were my assistant, it was like going to the Marine Corps, I mean could you survive two years with me and then become an executive. And those two years were tough, and I admit it.

If I had to do it over again, I would not do it that way. If I had to do a lot of things over, I would care less about the movies and care more about my children, family, and other people and friends and other people in this life.

The thing for me is I have not seen my three older children since the newspaper, since the New Yorker article came out; not the New York Times, but the New Yorker article, so I have not seen them. I just have no idea what they are doing, and I’m in no communication with them, that for me is hell on earth.

I just think my empathy has grown over the last 2-1/2 years. I can look at everybody there, you know, and just say, you know, I understand things, I empathize, I feel things, and I was not that person until this crisis started. I have to just say that.

I mean that part of this is such a tough process and has come out where I have learned so many things. I never thought I could deal with or things I dealt with in Arizona. I said, I’ll build this hospital blah, blah, blah. I said to two 15-year-olds what would you name the hospital, they said the Wonder Woman Hospital. I said you have to think of like a Greek God. He said Athena. Those two 15-year-olds, because they were all part of this group, were hooked on opiates and whatever, and you know, prostituting themselves to make money for it.

I met all sorts of people and I have grown.

For me, the idea of perfection in art and business is over. My mission is to help people. And I also want to make one clear statement. My wife Eve (my first wife) and my wife Georgina knew nothing about this.

I went to extraordinary lengths to hide my extramarital affairs; that was a terrible thing that I did by having those extramarital affairs, and God knows if I could take it back, I would. I know everybody in this room feels the same way.

It had nothing to do with anything. I was unfaithful to both, and I just cannot tell you how bad I feel about that.

You know, I never see my children again and they are everything to me in this world.

You know, when I deal with subjects like this, I don’t wish for vengeance, I wish for understanding. That is why I wanted to build a hospital. I wanted to build a hospital where if somebody is accused of something, they work, women, men, me too, they work with accredited groups that come in and help them and help them grow.

You know, I wanted to testify, but they told me all these things the District Attorney just said would come in my way before I testified. I wanted to talk to everybody, but anyhow, they all came up as it is. Now you should know some of the other side of that because I recognized the voices in those.

One of those voices, one — I lost my train of thought. I just recognized some of the names who complained, but what was known about me was with the toughness came the kindness, the person who probably hates me the most in this world, their daughter has a situation where she needs the help of a great doctor. I got her that doctor. That doctor is there to date with her.

Her father could not get that doctor. This is the person who hates me the most in this company. When his mother was sick I helped him with a doctor too. There was not any request that I refused on the part of the people who worked with me.

As far as the million dollars is concerned, I wrote a check out from the company, but I reimbursed the company because that is the way we did it. That million dollars was mine and I will say that over and over again.

9/11 happened, and I woke up two days later, I called John Seiss, I said we have to do something for New York, not only for the money, but for the attitude. We raised $100 million dollars free of expenses.

Ask the police who got that money. Ask the firemen if they respect me. Ask the workers if they respect me, and most of all, ask the victims of 9/11 who received $35 million dollars of that $100 million dollars if they respect me.

You know, when you want to investigate, take both sides into the equation, then when Sandy happened and people lost their jobs, and people lost their houses, again, we went to the board and we raised $77 million dollars.

Ask the guy in Coney Island, ask the guy in Far Rockaway when he lost his business and we were able to walk in there and save his business; ask him if he likes me.

Ask the captain who was killed in action. I took his children to the Super Bowl and to the Academy Awards because somebody had to do it. I did it with Steve Tisch. There are so many examples of that.

Robin Hood (Foundation) raised $2.5 billion dollars for the children and people of New York City. We built schools, built advocacy groups. I’m not saying I was a great part of it, but I was one of the board there and 22 years, and I had a lot to say and a lot to do. (Paul Tudor) Jones was the one who deserved the credit, but $2.5 billion dollars to build schools. I showed it by my work.

You can’t achieve what we achieved at AmFar. You cannot achieve what we achieved at AmFar without doing the hard work, getting the people, and we raised $170 million dollars and I started with AmFar. People would not touch each other, like the virus today, people would not touch each other. They were scared of AIDS and there were three hundred people who raised $300,000 the first night.

The year I left AmFar, we raised $30 million dollars and $170 million dollars overall. I worked too hard. As a result of working too hard, I felt too much pressure on myself. I really feel the remorse of this situation, I feel it deeply in my heart. I feel emotional, I feel like to go and talk to you guys, you know, just really, really caring and really trying and really trying to be a better person. Thank you, your Honor, for the time.



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Harvey Weinstein swaps red carpet for notorious Rikers Island


Weinstein has been working with a consultant in recent months to prepare him for prison, according to his spokesperson. But Rikers — with its reputation for maltreatment — will be a far cry from the red carpet for the disgraced movie mogul.

On his way to Rikers Island after his conviction February 24, Weinstein suffered chest pains, heart palpitations and high blood pressure. He was rerouted to Bellevue Hospital, his attorney Donna Rotunno said.

Doctors at Bellevue determined Weinstein had a blockage and on Wednesday, they performed a heart procedure during which they inserted a stent, his publicist Juda Engelmayer told CNN.

He was taken to the Rikers infirmary unit Thursday, the Department of Corrections said.

Weinstein’s lawyers had tried to keep their high-profile client out of the infamous complex, arguing that he has “significant medical issues.”

“He’s under the care of five doctors currently. He’s dealing with the remnants of his back operation which was not successful. He’s in need of the walker. He takes a list of different medicines. Judge, he’s currently receiving shots in his eyes so he does not go blind,” Rotunno told the court after the verdict was handed down.

Rotunno suggested Weinstein be kept on the same conditions of bail imposed during his trial — wearing an ankle monitor — or that he be placed under house arrest.

Failing that, Rotunno asked that her client be sent to the north infirmary unit at Rikers’ Anna Kross building. That is where Weinstein was taken Thursday.

It will be a rough landing for Weinstein, former Hollywood royalty more accustomed to being protected by VIP ropes rather than razor wire.

A symbol of the ills of pretrial detention

According to the city of New York, the Anna M. Kross Center where Weinstein is being held opened in 1978 and houses male inmates in a 40-acre facility.

Rikers is New York City’s primary jail and has been able to house up to 15,000 inmates in 10 separate jails.

Most inmates are awaiting trial or serving sentences of one year or less. While Weinstein has already been convicted and faces at least 5 years in prison, he is not due to be sentenced until March 11.

Originally about 87 acres, the island was manually expanded to more than 400 acres lying between Queens and the Bronx and accessed by a single-lane bridge.

The jail has become a symbol of the ills of pretrial detention, most famously in the case of Kalief Browder. Browder took his own life in 2015 after spending three years incarcerated at Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime.

That same year, the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York reached a settlement with the city after an investigation found adolescent inmates were not protected from “the rampant use of unnecessary and excessive force by New York City Department of Correction staff and violence inflicted by other inmates.”

Also in 2015, two women sued a corrections officer at Rikers Island and the city of New York, claiming that they were raped repeatedly by the officer with the complacency and consent of the city.

The explosive class action detailed reports of serial rape and sexual abuse by eight corrections officers at the all-female Rose M. Singer Center, including a case where an inmate was dragged into a janitor’s closet and another where the inmate became pregnant.

“This abuse is only possible because, in the face of repeated warnings, the City of New York has enabled a culture of complacency to perpetuate at Rikers Island and thereby consented to the abuse of women in its custody,” the suit alleged.

According to The New York Times, the city settled the lawsuit two years later, as did the corrections officer it named.
Last December, the New York City Department of Correction confirmed a New York Times report that it had suspended three officers and one captain after an 18-year-old inmate was found unresponsive at Rikers in November.
At least five corrections officers did not act for seven minutes while the inmate tried to hang himself, according to The New York Times, which cited four people with knowledge of the matter. Some of the corrections officers watched the suicide attempt, according to the newspaper.

‘The era of mass incarceration is over’

The prison’s reputation for violence and poor conditions finally caught up with it last year when the New York City Council in October voted overwhelmingly to shut the facility and open four new borough-based facilities instead.

“The era of mass incarceration is over. It’s over,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference after the vote.

“This is about valuing our people, no longer condemning people and sending them on a pathway that only made their lives worse and worse.”

In 2017, de Blasio set a timeline of 10 years to reduce the overall jail population in the city, which he said would allow for a “complete departure of all inmates from Rikers Island.”
The following year, the New York State Commission of Correction released a report into problematic jails damning the facility.

“Rikers Island continues to be plagued by managerial failures, significant structural problems, regulatory compliance failures, identified deficiencies that remain unaddressed, and unabated harm to both staff and inmates alike. The Commission has sought to assist Rikers management in addressing these and many other deficiencies, and facilitate improvements, but those efforts have not been successful, further highlighting the need for closure of all jail facilities located on Rikers Island.”

Weinstein’s sentence

Whatever sentence Weinstein receives, Rikers is likely to close while he is still behind bars.

For the charge of criminal sex act in the first degree, he faces a minimum of five years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.

For the charge of rape in the third degree, he essentially faces no minimum prison time and a maximum of four years.

Weinstein’s attorneys argued that the sexual encounters were consensual. As evidence, they pointed out that both women — Miriam Haley and Jessica Mann — had sex with Weinstein after the alleged attacks, and they continued to have friendly contact with him for years afterward.

Weinstein’s criminal cases aren’t over. He also faces charges of sexual assault and rape in separate incidents in Los Angeles. Weinstein has denied allegations of non-consensual sexual activity related to the other women.

CNN’s Aaron Cooper, Lauren del Valle, Rob Frehse, Evan Simko-Bednarski, Holly Yan, Brian Vitagliano, Chloe Melas, Melanie Schuman, Jean Casarez, Eric Levenson and Lisa Respers France contributed to this report.



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Harvey Weinstein trial: The women who testified against the former movie mogul


Two women testified about allegations that make up the charges against Weinstein. In addition, four other accusers testified about alleged incidents with Weinstein as prosecutors tried to show he had a pattern of behavior.

Weinstein’s attorneys have denied there was any nonconsensual sexual activity. During opening statements, they questioned the credibility of the women’s allegations and shared text and email exchanges between Weinstein and some of his accusers.

Here’s what we know about the women who took the stand during the trial.

Miriam Haley

Miriam Haley, a former production assistant at The Weinstein Company, said the film producer forcibly performed oral sex on her in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment, court documents show.

Haley was introduced to Weinstein in 2004 at the European premiere of “The Aviator” and later worked on a TV show he produced in New York City, she told reporters at an October 2017 news conference with her lawyer, famed women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred.

After rebuffing unwanted advances in previous encounters with Weinstein, Haley said she agreed to meet with him at his SoHo apartment in Manhattan.

“It was not long, though, before he was all over me making sexual advances. I told him, ‘No, no, no,’ but he insisted,” she said. “He was extremely persistent and physically overpowering. He then orally forced himself on me.”

Two of the five charges against Weinstein relate to this episode: predatory sexual assault and criminal sexual act in the first degree, records show.

When Weinstein’s defense attempted to get the case dismissed in 2018, they submitted documents highlighting a text from Haley that Weinstein received in 2007, months after she said he forced oral sex on her. The text “makes clear” that Haley wanted to continue seeing him after the alleged assault, according to court documents.

“Hi! Just wondering if u have any news on whether harvey will have time to see me before he leaves? x Miriam,” the text states.

Haley’s attorney has described Weinstein’s lawyer’s interpretation of the 21-word note as “speculation.”

Haley broke down in tears several times as she testified about the alleged attack.

Jessica Mann

Former actress Jessica Mann arrived for Weinstein's trial on January 31, 2020 in New York City.
Jessica Mann was identified for the first time in opening statements as one of the two Weinstein accusers at the center of the New York trial.

Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast said during her opening statement that Weinstein raped the then-aspiring actress in a New York hotel room in 2013.

Mann, who grew up in a dairy town in Washington State, met Weinstein at a party in Los Angeles when she was 25. He offered her advice for getting ahead in her acting career and claimed he had a leading role for her in a movie, but those were false promises, Hast said.

After the first alleged sexual assault, Mann maintained “the sum semblance of a relationship” with Weinstein and was allegedly assaulted two other times over the years, the prosecutor said.

Damon Cheronis, Weinstein’s attorney, described Mann’s relationship with his client as consensual and “loving,” and he highlighted one text that Mann sent to Harvey in February 2017.

“I love you, I always do. but I hate feeling like a booty call. :)” she wrote, according to Cheronis.

Mann testified for several days in the trial, describing how he seemed interested in her acting career and how their interactions went from discussions about the movie industry to two alleged rapes.
She suffered a panic attack while being cross examined by Weinstein’s attorney. Upon returning to the stand, she testified that her claims should not be dismissed because she had on-and-off relationship with the Hollywood mogul.

Annabella Sciorra

Prosecutors expect that Annabella Sciorra's testimony helps them prove a pattern in Weistein's behavior.
“The Sopranos” actress has accused Weinstein of raping her inside her Gramercy Park apartment in 1993. Annabella Sciorra first publicly accused the media mogul in the explosive, October 2017 New Yorker story that unleashed the raft of accusations against him.

She did not tell police about the alleged attack, and Weinstein continued to sexually harass her for years afterward, she told The New Yorker.

Sciorra is best known for her Emmy-nominated role in “The Sopranos” as Gloria Trillo, Tony Soprano’s mistress. But she first reached wider fame with her early 1990s starring turns in the Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” and the psychological thriller “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle.”

Those early performances put her on Weinstein’s radar.

Weinstein is not directly charged with raping or assaulting Sciorra. Still, he faces two counts of predatory sexual assault, and he can be convicted on those counts if prosecutors prove he committed sex crimes against multiple victims. Sciorra’s testimony is relevant to these two charges.

Cheronis, the attorney representing Weinstein in court, told jurors that a friend of the actress will testify that she described having consensual sex with Weinstein. He also showed a PowerPoint slide that highlighted a statement the defense says Sciorra made to police: “I didn’t report it because I didn’t think it was rape.”

Sciorra testified in vivid detail about the incident but the defense highlighted her lack of memory on specific dates and details. Actress Rosie Perez testified that Sciorra told her about the alleged attack after it happened.

Dawn Dunning

Dawn Dunning was an aspiring actress but has since then become a costume designer.

Costume designer Dawn Dunning, who spoke to The New York Times in October 2017, has said Weinstein sexually harassed her and tried to pressure her into having three-way sex with him.

Dunning met Weinstein in 2004 as a 24-year-old aspiring actress, and he later invited her to meet at a hotel in Manhattan, according to Hast. Dunning believed they’d be discussing acting contracts, but when she opened the door, Weinstein was standing in a bathrobe with nothing on underneath, Hast said.

He pointed to several acting contracts sitting on a coffee table and said she could have the parts if she had three-way sex, according to Hast. Dunning declined and fled the room, and Weinstein got angry, Hast said.

“This is how the industry works,” Weinstein told her, according to Hast. “How do you think other actresses got ahead?”

Weinstein’s attorney questioned the credibility of Dunning’s allegations in court, saying there have been inconsistencies in the stories she’s told authorities.

“When an individual says something and then their stories change, it’s important for a lot of reasons and I think you guys know what those reasons are,” Cheronis told jurors.

Dunning testified that she ran out of the room and never spoke to Weinstein again, and she stopped pursuing an acting career.

Dunning along with Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young testified as “prior bad acts” witnesses, known as Molineux witnesses in New York state. Their accusations are not part of the criminal charges, but prosecutors intend to show a pattern of sexual abuse.

Tarale Wulff

Tarale Wulff departed Manhattan Criminal Court during an intermission in testimony during Weinstein's trial on January 29, 2020 in New York City.

Wulff, an aspiring actress from Long Island, met Weinstein in 2005 while working as a cocktail waitress at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan.

She served the owner’s table in the club, which Weinstein frequented as a friend of the owner. Wulff alleges Weinstein pulled her by the arm into the hall and up onto a private roof terrace as her manager closed the door despite her expressing distress to him. Weinstein then masturbated in front of her until she ran away and switched tables with another waitress for the rest of the night, Hast said.

Hoping for a big break, Wulff set up a meeting with Weinstein and later was taken by car to his apartment, Hast said.

She found herself in his bedroom, and soon she “had the full weight of the defendant on top of her,” Hast said.

Wulff never spoke to him after the alleged assault, Hast said, and never told anyone about it.

“She simply did what she learned to do as a child,” Hast said. “She tried to forget and move on, put on a brave face and pretend that nothing happened.”

At the trial, Wulff testified that she went to Weinstein’s New York apartment for what she believed would be a professional meeting, but he grabbed her by the arms, forced her onto a bed and lay on top of her. He then told her not to worry because he had a vasectomy, she testified.

Lauren Young

Lauren Marie Young departed a Manhattan courthouse after testifying Weinstein's trial on Feb. 5, 2020.

Young, then 22, met Weinstein in February 2012 at a dinner event during Oscar season. The next year, she was invited to meet with a friend and Weinstein, and Young planned to discuss a script she was writing based on her life, Hast said.

Weinstein asked the two to come upstairs to his room as he got ready, Hast said. Young ended up trapped inside a suite bathroom, and Weinstein blocked the main door to keep her from leaving, Hast said.

Weinstein then took off his clothes and began masturbating with one hand as he used the other to pull down Young’s dress, Hast said. He ejaculated on the floor, Hast said.

Young was “scared and disgusted,” and then fled the bathroom, according to Hast. She later told two friends about the incident. She testified about the incident on February 5.

CNN’s Nicole Chavez wrote from Atlanta. Lauren del Valle and Eric Levenson reported and wrote from New York.



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Harvey Weinstein lawyer says – CNN


In an interview Friday on The Daily podcast, Donna Rotunno, was asked whether she had ever been the victim of a sexual assault.

“I have not because I would never put myself in that position,” she said on the New York Times podcast. “I’ve always made choices from college age on where I never drank too much. I never went home with someone that I didn’t know. I just never put myself in any vulnerable circumstances ever.”

“Do you believe every woman who’s been sexually assaulted somehow put herself in that position — whether it was having drinks or agreeing to go to a hotel room?” asked New York Times reporter Megan Twohey, co-author of “She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement.”

“Absolutely not but just as we make smart decisions when we walk out on the street at night, I think you have to make the same decision when your putting yourself in circumstances with other people,” Rotunno added.

“When we walk out at night we look around, we make sure we have our phone, some people take mace. We take precautions. All I’m saying is women should take precautions.”

The interview aired one day after the prosecution rested in a trial where six women provided graphic testimony about unwanted sexual attacks and advances by the powerful movie producer whom prosecutors said used his power to prey on young, inexperienced women who were hoping to establish their movie careers.
Weinstein is charged with five counts, including rape, criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault, which is punishable by up to life in prison. The charges are based on Miriam Haley’s testimony that Weinstein forced oral sex on her in 2006 and Jessica Mann’s testimony that he raped her twice during an abusive relationship.

Weinstein’s defense, led by Rotunno, has argued that the sexual encounters were consensual, and as evidence, they have pointed to friendly messages that the women sent to Weinstein after the alleged attacks.

Weinstein’s attorneys closely cross-examined each of the women about what the attorneys say are inconsistencies in their stories.



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Jury selection in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial enters second week


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jury selection in the high-profile rape trial of Harvey Weinstein is expected to enter its second week Monday, as the judge and lawyers in the case choose a panel of 12 impartial New Yorkers to decide the former movie producer’s fate.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges of assaulting two women, and faces life in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault. His trial began Jan. 6 and could last up to two months.

Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most powerful producers, made his mark with critically acclaimed films such as “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.”

Since 2017, more than 80 women, including many famous actresses, have accused him of sexual misconduct dating back decades. Weinstein has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters he had were consensual.

The allegations helped fuel the #MeToo movement, in which women have gone public with misconduct allegations against powerful men in business and politics.

Jury selection in Weinstein’s case is in its first phase, with potential jurors being pre-screened for possible bias. A more intensive phase is expected to begin Thursday in which lawyers will ask more detailed questions about jurors’ backgrounds.

Out of 360 potential jurors summoned last week, 106 passed pre-screening, with many excused after saying they could not be impartial. Others were let go for health reasons or because serving in the trial would be a hardship.

Friday’s jury selection proceedings were punctuated by a protest, with about 100 women carrying pots and pans dancing across the street from the courthouse.

“The rapist is you. Patriarchy is our judge,” the women chanted, first in English and then in Spanish. The chants were heard in the 15th floor courtroom, prompting Weinstein’s lawyers to ask that all the potential jurors present be dismissed.

Slideshow (4 Images)

Justice James Burke denied the request, noting that he expected the protest would not be the last.

Burke last week refused to take himself off the case, after Weinstein’s defense team accused him of bias.

On Jan. 6, as the New York trial began, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced new sexual assault charges against Weinstein.

Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Cynthia Osterman



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Timeline: Key events of the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein


(Reuters) – Harvey Weinstein, who transformed the independent film world with award-winning movies such as “Shakespeare in Love” and “The English Patient”, faces criminal sexual assault charges before a jury trial in New York state court to begin next week.

FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein exits following a hearing in his sexual assault case at New York State Supreme Court in New York, U.S., December 6, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted two women, one in 2006 and another in 2013. More than 80 women have made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone. A spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Here is a timeline of the rise and fall of one of the most powerful Hollywood executives:

1979 – Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob found independent film distribution and production company Miramax, naming it after their parents, Miriam and Max.

June 1993 – The Walt Disney Company buys Miramax for $80 million but the brothers stay on until 2005.

May 1994 – Director Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” starring Uma Thurman and John Travolta and backed by Miramax, wins the prestigious Palme d’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

1997 – Miramax wins its first Academy Award for best picture with “The English Patient.”

1999 – Miramax’s “Shakespeare in Love” wins seven Oscars – including best picture and best actress for Gwyneth Paltrow.

2004 – Weinstein divorces his first wife Eve Chilton, with whom he has three daughters.

2005 – The Weinstein brothers leave Miramax to set up their own production company, The Weinstein Company.

Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman

2007 – Weinstein marries English fashion director Georgina Chapman.

October 5, 2017 – The New York Times reports Weinstein settled with eight women who accused him of unwanted physical contact and sexual harassment over three decades. Weinstein in a statement apologized for causing pain to colleagues and said he was taking a leave of absence and entering therapy. Reuters did not independently verify the details of the New York Times report.

October 6, 2017 – Weinstein takes indefinite leave of absence from The Weinstein Co. The company later says he is fired.

October 10, 2017 – The New Yorker reports allegations by 13 women who said Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, including three who said he raped them. Weinstein again denies non-consensual sex. Reuters did not independently verify the details of The New Yorker’s accounts.

October 10, 2017 – Chapman, Weinstein’s wife, says she is leaving him.   

     

October 14, 2017 – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that selects the Oscar winners, expels Weinstein.

October 2017 – Actress Alyssa Milano fuels the expansion of the #MeToo movement, founded by Tarana Burke, by writing on Twitter: “If you’ve ever been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” In the following weeks, #MeToo would be used by millions of women.

January 1, 2018 – Hollywood celebrities launch the Time’s Up campaign to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.

May 25, 2018 – Weinstein surrenders to New York police on charges of rape and a criminal sex act involving alleged assaults against two women, in 2004 and 2013.

June 5, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to the charges.

June 9, 2018 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new charges of sexually assaulting a third woman in 2006.

October 11, 2018 – Weinstein wins dismissal of the charges over the alleged 2004 assault. Charges involving the other two women remain pending.

January 17, 2019 – Benjamin Brafman, Weinstein’s defense attorney, issues statement saying he is quitting, without elaborating.

January 25, 2019 – Weinstein appears in court to announce new defense team.

April 26, 2019 – Weinstein’s trial is delayed until September 9 to allow defense more time to gather evidence.

July 11, 2019 – Weinstein hires third legal team after second team of defense attorneys exits the case.

August 26, 2019 – Weinstein pleads not guilty to new indictment involving the same two women accusing him of two counts of predatory sexual assault, in 2006 and 2013. His trial is pushed back to January 6, 2020.

Slideshow (8 Images)

December 11, 2019 – Weinstein and his bankrupt studio reach tentative $25 million settlement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct. Representatives for Weinstein declined to comment.

January 7, 2020 – Jury selection at Weinstein’s trial expected to begin.

Reporting by Diane Craft; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Daniel Wallis



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Celebrity Entertaiment

Steve Harvey on hosting New Year’s Eve: ‘It’s a rough gig’



Times Square is not only jammed with party people on New Year’s Eve, but also crowded with hosts of network shows. Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly, Anderson Cooper and others stand in the brutal cold and kill time with variety acts until the ball drops.

Steve Harvey is back again this year on Fox, with his co-host Maria Menounos, to ring in the year with some help from The Lumineers, The Chainsmokers, Florida Georgia Line, The Backstreet Boys and reportedly Golden Globe nominee Jennifer Lopez.

Harvey, 62, spoke to The Post from Africa, where he was preparing to host the first version of “Family Feud” with all African families, set to air in April 2020.

“I thought the cultural differences would lead to pretty funny stuff,” Harvey says of the new show. “Not being on NBC freed me up to think of something [new]. Not being on the talk show, I came up with the idea when I heard they were giving my time slot away [to Kelly Clarkson].

Why do you like to work on New Year’s Eve?

I had stopped working as a stand-up on New Year’s Eve. It was such an iconic brand I had never owned. I took advantage of the offer from Fox. I thought it would be good for my brand. The first time was absolutely horrible. It was 11 below zero. Last year it rained all night. There’s nowhere to sit. It’s a rough gig. There are stretching rooms. You’re not allowed to bring trailers. I have a hotel room right there. The entire time you need some blankets and heaters.

How far in advance do you plan the show? How early do the requests for guests go out?

I begin planning for the show a few months out but the production team and producers begin planning immediately after the prior year’s taping ends.

Do you give Fox a wish list of possible guests? Do entertainers contact you during the calendar year and ask for a spot in the lineup?

I do not usually give Fox a wish list of guests, as they have been an amazing partner and do a wonderful job on bookings. I have started thinking about some good recommendations this year though and have been reaching out to them with my ideas.

What is it like to be in the middle of that horde of people? Are you intimidated?

It’s not intimidating. I am in awe at the energy of the people. Once you check into Times Square, you can’t leave. There are no restrooms. These people are wearing diapers and they go through the whole thing. They sit there and they deal with it. And you feel an obligation to be entertaining.

“Fox New Year’s Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesday.



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Kaja Sokola: New civil lawsuit alleges Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted a 16-year-old Polish model in 2002



The complaint was filed on behalf of Kaja Sokola in New York State Supreme Court and lists Weinstein’s brother Robert Weinstein, Disney and Miramax as defendants.

Sokola accuses Disney and Robert Weinstein of negligence, saying their conduct, “including the negligent retention and/or supervision of Harvey Weinstein and affirmative acts covering up and empowering Harvey Weinstein to commit sexual assaults, resulted in Harvey Weinstein’s commission of the Child Sex Crimes against Plaintiff.”

In 2018, Weinstein’s then-attorney Benjamin Brafman called Sokola’s claim, filed under Jane Doe, “preposterous.” Brafman said, “Like so many other women in this case who have already been exposed as liars, this latest completely uncorroborated allegation that is almost 20 years old will also be shown to be patently false.”

Sokola, who lives in Poland, alleges that in 2002, when she was 16, she met Weinstein at a modeling event in New York, according to the complaint.

She claims Weinstein learned she was interested in acting, gave her his card and told her they would have lunch to discuss her future.

Three days later, Sokola says, Weinstein called her, invited her to lunch and said his driver would be picking her up. She agreed and it was her understanding this was a business lunch to discuss her future and career, according to the complaint.

In the car with Weinstein, Sokola told him how old she was and that she was from Poland, but instead of going to a restaurant, Sokola claims the driver took them to Weinstein’s SoHo apartment, where she says he sexually assaulted her.

Sokola alleges Weinstein told her to take off her clothes, at which point she was “terrified” and “felt as though she was no longer in control of her body,” according to the complaint.

During the incident, Sokola claims, “Harvey Weinstein threatened and pressured Sokola, saying that he had ‘made’ the careers of Penelope Cruz and Gwyneth Paltrow, and that neither would be working without him.”

Weinstein began touching Sokola’s vagina and he forced her to touch it as well, according to the complaint.

Sokola alleges Weinstein took off his pants next, and according to the complaint, “forcibly held Sokola while taking her hand and making her touch and massage his penis while he grabbed at her breasts.”

The complaint alleges that after Weinstein ejaculated on the floor, Sokola tried to leave the apartment but Weinstein blocked the door and yelled at her to calm down. Weinstein insisted that what had happened was “normal,” according to Sokola.

When she was finally able to leave the apartment, Weinstein told her she needed to work on her stubbornness, according to the complaint.

Sokola suffers from long-term depression, anorexia and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships with men, according to the filing.

She is seeking a number of damages, according to the complaint, as well as a money judgment for “mental pain and anguish and severe emotional distress.”

CNN has reached out to all defendants in this complaint for comment.

CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.



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Steve Harvey Talks New Year’s Eve Special, Viral Memes


Steve Harvey is not concerned about blending in. The stand-up comedian who, for the third time, will host Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey live from Times Square, NYC, on December 31, admits he’s not shocked by the attention his unconventional New Year’s Eve outfits have attracted in years past.

“Nobody dresses like me,” Harvey, 62, tells Us Weekly of why he thinks his outfits have inspired viral memes and social media buzz. “Everybody else is going to put on one of those puff coats or they’re just going to have on a trench coat. I’m not that guy. I’m sorry. I’m just not going to do it. You never know what I’m going to wear. The first year was that big white coat, looked like a marshmallow. Then I came back last year with the powder blue pimp jacket, and this year, we’ll have another surprise. I’m thinking about a cape this year, I’m actually considering a black velvet cape.”

Steve-Harvey-New-Years-Eve-outfits
‘FOX’S New Years Eve with Steve Harvey: Live From Times Square on December 31, 2018. Stephen Smith/Fox/PictureGroup/Shutterstock

The Family Feud host, who added that he might pair his look with a “diamond encrusted cane,” went on to say that what separates his Fox special from the slew of other choices is simple: his comedy.

“There’s a lot of options for people on New Year’s Eve, but where else except Fox can you get the one and only Steve Harvey? I’m the funniest person on New Year’s Eve. That’s not bragging, I’m the funniest guy on New Year’s Eve, so if you want to laugh, you come to Fox. If you want to be highly entertained, you come to Fox. There’s going to be a lot of great entertainment.”

Adding to the excitement, the special, which will be cohosted by Maria Menunous and Rob Gronkowski, will feature performances from The Chainsmokers and LL COOL J featuring DJ Z-Trip.

“It’s four hours of live television. A lot can go wrong when it’s live,” Harvey explains. “You’ve just got to nail it. There’s a lot more anxiety whenever you do live TV because nobody’s going to cut and edit it and take it out. It’s on there, so you’ve just got to nail it. You’ve got to focus. But it is what it is, I enjoy live performance. I like being put on the spot like that and I like rising to the occasion.”

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, Harvey says: “My life is a continuation. I don’t really do goodbyes to 2019. I don’t set resolutions because it’s a new year. Anything that I think needs to be improved in my life, I start improving it right now. Like, my fat ass has got to lose weight, so I’ve started now. No reason to wait until the new year to start that. I’m going to start now, and then I’m going to fail miserably because Christmas is coming and I’m going to eat a bunch of pie, eggnog, and sweet potatoes, and I’m not going to lose weight, I’ll just keep going. But at least I’m going to get a start on it.”

The Straight Talk, No Chaser author went on to offer a few words of advice for those who are looking for some inspiration for the new year ahead.

“Just remember that the law of attraction is real. It doesn’t matter whether you believe it, accept it, realize that it’s there, or acknowledge it. The law of attraction is real. Be very, very conscious moving forward of everything that you put out on your wavelength from your brain because that exact same thing is going to come back.”

“If you want to get out of debt in 2020, you can’t say, ‘I want to get out of debt. I’ve got to get out of debt.’ Because what you’re doing now is you’re bringing more debt for you to get out of. You have to change the way you project. You’ve got to say,’I’m going to have a life of abundance. I’m going to have a prosperous new year.’ And then you attract prosperity to you, so be conscious of the law of attraction and make sure you’re using it the right way,” he advises.

Fox’s New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey airs Thursday, December 31 at 8 p.m. ET





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