When former actress Jessica Mann first met Harvey Weinstein at a party in the Hollywood Hills in 2013, she thought “God was blessing” her for all the hard work she’d put in to chase her dreams.
“I had given up a lot to be in Hollywood. It was a big fight between me and my dad and with my religious background, I thought God was blessing me by meeting him,” Mann, now 34, testified Friday at Weinstein’s sex-crimes trial. “I thought it was a blessing.”
But the seemingly fortuitous meeting turned out to be anything but, she told jurors in Manhattan Supreme Court, as months later, the movie mogul sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, including forcibly performing oral sex on her in a hotel room after promising her lead roles in his upcoming movies.
In another incident, Weinstein raped her inside a DoubleTree hotel room in Manhattan, and afterward, Mann found a needle in the bathroom that she believed the Oscar-winner used to inject himself with “medicine” enabling him to get an erection, she testified.
“I was panicked because my worst nightmare was about to happen,” she said through tears, describing the moments before the alleged assault. “I was very angry inside and very scared. I gave up at that point.”
Later that year, after Mann admitted to Weinstein that she’d started dating a well-known actor, he allegedly raped her again at a Beverly Hills hotel, ripping off her pants and screaming that she owed him “one more time,” she testified.
Despite her desire to put an end to her contact with him after the first assault, she felt “trapped” because Weinstein constantly reminded her about the power he wielded in the industry she was so desperately trying to break into.
Weinstein, 67, is on trial for five sex-crime charges, including three related to his alleged encounters with Mann. The other two charges are for allegations made by Miriam Haleyi, a former Project Runway production assistant who testified that Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at his SoHo home in 2006.
In addition to testimony from the two women, three other accusers have so far taken the stand at Weinstein’s trial to support prosecutors’ claims that the producer exhibited a pattern of predatory behavior. They are among 80 alleged victims who have accused the Shakespeare in Love producer of sexual misconduct, claims he has repeatedly denied.
Dressed in a gray suit and black tie, Weinstein stared straight ahead and occasionally shook his head as Mann began to testify about how she first met the now-toppled titan at the Hollywood party in 2013.
Mann, who was born on a dairy farm in Washington state and raised in the evangelical faith, told jurors she moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue an acting career, but only managed to get small roles in commercials and independent films.
She didn’t know who Weinstein was when they were first introduced at an engagement party in the Hollywood Hills, but she was “excited” when he asked for her number at the end of the night, she said. Soon after, she met Weinstein at a local bookstore because he claimed “it was important for me to understand film history if I wanted to be an actress,” Mann testified.
“Everything was extremely professional directed as far as my engagement with him,” she said.
Mann, then 27, said she agreed to meet Weinstein at the Peninsula Hotel for a “pretty normal” dinner to discuss her career. But halfway through dinner, she said a man approached Weinstein to compliment his movies, which “irritated him” and “in a fury” the producer yelled for the waiter to “take up the food to the hotel room.”
Once inside the room, their professional conversation quickly deviated into something more intimate. She said that while she declined his proposal to give her a massage, she ended up giving him a massage instead.
“He had a lot, a lot, of blackheads and the texture of that was uncomfortable,” she said, adding that Weinstein made her “feel stupid” for “making a big deal over nothing.”
Despite the awkward hotel incident, Mann said she became closer to Weinstein as the movie mogul invited her to several parties held by The Weinstein Company, his production company, that month. The friendship was so professional, she said, that when Weinstein invited her and her friend to the Montage hotel in 2013 to “talk to us about acting” she didn’t have any doubts.
Throughout the conversation at the bar, Mann said Weinstein gave her several compliments, including that he “reminded her a lot of his wife” and that she was “prettier than Natalie Portman.”
Weinstein told the pair that they were “perfect” for an upcoming movie, Vampire Academy, that he was producing—and invited them back to his hotel room, she said. When she protested, Weinstein allegedly said: “I am a harmless old man.”
But once inside the room, Weinstein separated the two women, guiding Mann into a bedroom where she said he performed oral sex on her, even as she begged him to stop—refusing to lighten his grip on her or let her leave until he “did something” for her, she testified.
“He laid me down on the bed and that’s when he went down on me,” she said, adding that when she protested he argued that she had accepted his party invitations. “I started to fake an orgasm to get out of it.”
Immediately after, Mann said she left the hotel with her friend but never told her what happened because she was so “horrified and confused.” Despite her revulsion over the assault, Mann admitted she “made the decision to be in a relationship” with Weinstein.
“I entered into what I thought was a real relationship with him and it was extremely degrading from that point on,” she said. “He would talk very dirty to me about fantasies and things and compare me to other actresses he said were doing kinky, dirty stuff. He always wanted to film me.”
From that point on, she said Weinstein would call her whenever “he needed a fix,” and those sexual encounters weren’t forced. The relationship, which was brief, also included a threesome and one encounter during which he urinated on her, Mann testified.
“The first time I saw him fully naked, I thought he was deformed and intersex,” she said, as Weinstein put his head into his hand. “He has extreme scarring that I didn’t know if he was a burn victim but it didn’t make sense. He does not have testicles and it appears that he has a vagina.”
Mann said she tried to end the relationship after multiple uncomfortable encounters—including one situation where Weinstein “said ‘Do you like my big, fat, Jewish dick?’”—but admitted she stayed in contact with him out of fear for her family and the future of her career.
Months later, on March 18, 2013, Mann said she was supposed to meet with Weinstein for breakfast in New York City when he unexpectedly showed up to the DoubleTree hotel in Manhattan where she was staying. His arrival made her “panic.”
“I waited as long as I could before I felt like I had to go down there. So I go downstairs and when I get downstairs, Harvey is checking into the hotel, and then I really freaked out,” Mann said.
She started questioning him, and Weinstein grew angry over her objections, telling her “not to embarrass” him before leading her upstairs to his room, she said.
In the hotel room, Mann said Weinstein immediately commanded her “like a drill sergeant” to undress. While she initially resisted, she said his grip on her was so uncomfortable that she “gave up.”
“Once I was naked and laid on the bed, he went into the bathroom and sort of closed the door behind him. The door was still kind of open a little bit,” Mann said, as she started to cry. “And then he came out naked, and then he got on top of me and that’s when he put himself inside me.”
After he raped her, Weinstein got dressed and she immediately ran into the bathroom—and realized that Weinstein had injected himself with medication to get an erection, Mann testified.
“I was just trying to collect myself for a minute and I see a needle in the trash can and I flip out,” she said, noting that she was horrified that he had “stabbed himself with a needle and there had to be blood and he was inside of me. I was in shock over that.”
Despite her horror, Mann said she went down for breakfast with her friends and “shut down” as she agreed to join Weinstein for the premiere of August Osage County out of fear and confusion. But instead of returning to her hotel room, she said she stayed on a friend’s floor, sleeping next to a closet.
Mann said she never told anybody about the assault because she was “so embarrassed” and wanted the friends she was with to “respect her.” She said she tried to distance herself from Weinstein with a slew of excuses after the incident in New York, but continued to communicate and send him flattering emails.
“I wanted to be perceived as innocent and naive and not a threat,” she said, adding that she didn’t want to “trigger his anger.”
Months later, in November 2013, Mann said she saw Weinstein again when he came in for a haircut at the Peninsula Hotel, where he’d helped her secure a job as a stylist. At the time, she’d just started a relationship with a “well-known actor” and was “avoiding telling Harvey,” she testified.
When she finally told him about the new relationship, Weinstein was furious and his “eyes turned black,” Mann recalled.
“He was screaming, ‘You owe me, you owe me one more time!’ as he was dragging me into the bedroom,” she said through tears, wiping her face with a tissue. “He was demanding that I take off my clothes, and I was begging, ‘Please no.’ He stood over me and said, ‘Take off your clothes,’ and I said, ‘no,’ again.”
Angrily, Weinstein answered, “I don’t have time for games,” before he “lunged” at her, violently ripping off her pants “so fast and so hard,” Mann alleged.
“He scratched me. It hurt it stung like a paper cut but deeper,” she recalled. “And I froze and I lost my voice and I crawled back to the pillows and I got in a ball because I had no strength.”
Weinstein then went to another room, but before she was able to run away, he “grabbed both” of her ankles and began to forcibly perform oral sex on her before violently raping her, she testified.
“Almost every other time he would get fully naked, but this time he had a T-shirt on,” Mann said, barely able to speak through the tears. “I couldn’t breathe, he was so heavy on me.”
She blacked out during the rape, she testified, and the next thing she remembers is being on her knees as Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex. “When he was done he went and laid on the bed and I crawled to the bathroom on my hands and legs...and tried to get rid of the taste in my mouth,” she said.
Afterward, Weinstein allegedly told her, “Now you can have your relationship.”
The producer told her that she could be his “wing girl” and bring her women to sleep with, before apologizing and justifying the assault by stating he finds her “so attractive,” Mann said. The former actress said she “was too scared to confront him” about the rape, and didn’t tell anyone about the assault until 2017—when she spoke to authorities.
During cross-examination, which is expected to resume Monday, defense attorney Donna Rotunno grilled Mann about her relationship with Weinstein, arguing that she “manipulated” and “used” the producer for career gain.
“You decided that you could overlook what you found grotesque about his appearance because you wanted what he could give you,” Rotunno said. “Ms. Mann, you were using Harvey Weinstein. You were lying to Harvey Weinstein. You never wanted to have sex with Mr. Weinstein, even when you said it was consensual?”
Mann, after a brief cause, responded: “Correct.”
She was also questioned about a never-posted blog entry that suggested she’d enjoyed the threesome with Weinstein. When asked by Rotunno if the post accurately described the evening, Mann said it didn’t, adding, “I wanted to reframe it for comedy. It was painful for me.”
Mann is the fifth woman to testify against the once-powerful movie producer, alongside Haleyi and Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, who said Weinstein violently raped her in her apartment in 1993 or 1994. On Wednesday, jurors also heard from Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff, who both testified that Weinstein sexually assaulted them in 2004 and 2005, respectively.