Moments after Harvey Weinstein violently raped Annabella Sciorra inside her Manhattan apartment, he boasted, “I have perfect timing,” the Emmy-nominated actress testified Thursday at the movie mogul’s sex-crimes trial.
Sciorra, best known for her role in The Sopranos, told jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court that in 1993 or 1994 Weinstein showed up at her door and forced himself inside her 17th-floor apartment.
“He put my hands over my head to hold me back and he got on top of me and he raped me,” Sciorra, 59, said. “It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake.”
Dressed in a navy blue dress and heels, Sciorra turned her body away from Weinstein as she testified against him—the first of several confrontations the once-powerful producer’s accusers will have with him throughout the anticipated six-week trial.
To date, more than 80 women, including many well-known actresses, have come forward to accuse the Oscar-winner of sexual misconduct.
“I was punching him, I was kicking him, I was just trying to get him off,” the actress said. “But at some point, I stopped fighting, I didn’t have much fight left.”
After the rape, Weinstein performed oral sex on her without consent, telling her, “This is for you,” she said.
Weinstein, 67, faces five charges, including predatory sexual assault and first-degree rape, after allegedly performing an unwanted sex act on his former production assistant in 2006 and raping another woman in 2013. The producer, who was also hit with sex-crime charges in Los Angeles this month, could face life in prison if convicted. He’s repeatedly denied all allegations of sexual assault.
The toppled titan, wearing a black suit and orthopedic shoes, drew on a yellow notepad at the defense table as Sciorra emotionally recounted the assault, occasionally choking back tears.
While Weinstein has only been charged with sexually assaulting two women, Miriam Haleyi and Jessica Mann, the jury will also hear from four of his other accusers as the prosecution seeks to prove he exhibited a pattern of predatory behavior during his three decades of unfettered power.
Sciorra is among the four other women who are expected to testify as corroborating accusers, even though their allegations fall outside the statute of limitations.
The actress said she first met Weinstein at a house party in Los Angeles in “1990 or 1991.” After accepting Weinstein’s offer for a ride home to Malibu, where she was staying while visiting Los Angeles, the two struck up a professional relationship.
“I don’t remember anything remarkable about the conversation, only that he gave me his card and said that if I came across any scripts, he was looking for some good scripts,” she said.
Sciorra said she eventually reached out to Weinstein about a script written by a friend, Warren Light. Weinstein told her he liked the movie, which was written for Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker, but told Sciorra he would only produce the film if she agreed to star, she testified.
Despite her protests, Sciorra said she agreed to star in the 1993 film The Night We Never Met. Weinstein, in an attempt to smooth over tensions caused by forcing her to join the movie, sent her several gift baskets that included old movies, some popcorn, “a bottle of Valium,” and penis-shaped chocolate, she testified.
“He sent me a box of chocolate penises,” she said, adding that she thought it was “gross” and “inappropriate.”
After the movie wrapped, Sciorra said she stayed on friendly terms with Weinstein and was occasionally “invited to a dinner or an event or a screening” by him. One of these “uneventful” dinners occurred in the winter of 1993 or 1994 at an Irish pub with eight or nine people, the actress said.
“When it was done, I got up to leave to go home and Weinstein said he would give me a ride home,” she said.
The producer’s driver dropped her off and she went upstairs, but minutes after she entered her apartment and got ready for bed, Sciorra said she “heard a knock on the door.” Sure it was a neighbor or the doorman, the actress said she opened the door without a second thought—and was pushed aside by the 300-pound Weinstein.
The actress said that as Weinstein unbuttoned his shirt, she told him she “did not want to have sex and was not romantically interested in him,” and tried to walk toward the bathroom. Instead, Weinstein pushed her into the bedroom and on the bed, she said.
“I felt overpowered,” she recalled.
“I can’t tell you exactly when his pants came off or what exactly what happened,” she said. “I think his shirt was on the whole time. He put his penis inside my vagina and he raped me.”
Eventually, Sciorra said she “lost all fight,” and her “body shut down” and she started to shake like she was having “a seizure or something.”
After the rape, Weinstein ejaculated on her leg and nightgown, a gift from her mother’s cousin, she recalled. After commenting on his aim, he then performed oral sex on her, the actress said.
Sciorra said she doesn’t remember what happened after the assault but woke up in her bedroom with her “nightgown wrapped around her.” She admitted to jurors Thursday she never reported the incident to police and tried to forget it for the sake of her career and life—only telling friend and actress Rosie Perez about the assault years later.
“I wanted to pretend it never happened because I wanted to get back to my life,” she said while choking back tears. “I was confused, I wished I had never opened the door.”
The actress said months later she tried to confront to Weinstein, telling him that she woke up confused with her nightgown askew and asking for his opinion on the incident.
“That’s what all the nice Catholic girls say,” Weinstein allegedly responded. “Then he leaned into me and said, ‘This remains between you and I.’”
She added that Weinstein’s eyes “turned black” and “it was threatening and I was afraid.”
Sciorra said that in the wake of the attack she started to drink heavily and even cut herself. A few times, she told jurors, she even sliced her hands and fingers to paint a white wall in her apartment “blood red.”
Sciorra said that while she eventually stopped self-harming, she continued to endure harassment from Weinstein. She told jurors that on one occasion he showed up at her London hotel room and banged on her door. At the Cannes Film Festival in 1997, she said she opened her hotel room door at 5 a.m. to find the producer standing in the hallway.
Weinstein was standing in his underwear, she said, with a bottle of baby oil and a videotape in his hands.
“I couldn’t get past him,” Sciorra said about that night, adding that she “pressed all of the call buttons” on the phone in the bedroom and he eventually left.
During cross-examination, Weinstein defense lawyer Donna Rotunno tried to poke holes in Sciorra’s story, questioning the actress on her inability to remember major details about the alleged assault, including the year it took place and the moments after the incident.
“You have no idea the month or potentially the year that you say you went out to dinner… at an Irish restaurant. Correct?” Rotunno asked Sciorra, as Weinstein watched his lawyer intently, turning his body toward the jury.
The actress responded that she remembers the assault occurring “sometime during the fall and winter months of 1993 or 1994.” “That’s a span of 4, 6, 7 months,” she added.
The lawyer also questioned how Weinstein was able to get to the door of her apartment since her building has a doorman, and why Sciorra opened the door in her nightgown late at night if she wasn’t expecting anyone.
She said the assault “happened very fast” so she was unable to call the doorman or 911 after Weinstein entered her apartment. Rotunno then asked several times whether she tried to leave her apartment.
“He was too big... it was very fast, and I tried fighting,” Sciorra said. “I was yelling at him to get off me and to leave me alone.”
Rotunno also questioned why Sciorra didn’t question the doorman about letting a stranger up to her apartment or contact authorities after the incident.
“I was devastated,” Sciorra responded. “I didn’t understand that was rape.”