Disgraced film executive Harvey Weinstein appeared to fall asleep several times Monday during the testimony of former actor Jessica Mann, who cried so uncontrollably during cross-examination that the judge ended her testimony for the day.
Mann, the fifth accuser to take the stand at Weinstein’s trial in New York, has accused Weinstein of forcing oral sex on her and raping her in a hotel room.
Weinstein defense attorney Donna Rotunno claimed during cross-examination that Mann had “manipulated” and “used” the producer to further her career. Rotunno read aloud emails Mann had sent to Weinstein after the alleged rape, and argued they discredited her allegations.
“As always happy to see your smile and I hope to see you sooner than later. … I hope some of your genius rubs off on me,” read one of Mann’s emails to Weinstein from April 2013.
Rotunno accused Mann of knowing her “words were a problem in your testimony.”
“You sent him emails telling him how wonderful he was. You sent him emails thanking him. You sent him emails asking for things,” Rotunno said. “You made a choice to have sexual encounters with Harvey Weinstein when you weren’t sexually attracted to him. You liked the parties and you liked the power.”
Mann, however, told the court “there was a reason my behavior was like this.”
“It’s just keeping him happy,” she said. “I felt safe on email.”
Psychologists and victim advocates say survivors often stay in touch with their abusers and struggle to reconcile the fact that their abuser may have once been a friend or protector, HuffPost reported last month.
Veronique Valliere, a Pennsylvania-based psychologist who specializes in sexual assault, told HuffPost that Weinstein’s victims may have suppressed the abuse because confronting him could have potentially destroyed their careers or put them in physical danger.
Mann read an email she had sent to a former boyfriend in May 2014, and cried as she read that Weinstein had made her feel “validated” in her dreams of being an actor.
“Harvey was my father’s age and he gave me all the validation I needed,” Mann’s email said. “I think he liked me because in a way he couldn’t get me, and I didn’t take from him. I didn’t have an agenda other than my own wounds, playing out subconsciously.”
She went on to say she could remember “the day I realized I was controlling my world because I was sexually assaulted and that story played out where I played into sexual dynamics with people to feel like I would never be taken advantage of again.”
Justice James Burke called for a 10-minute break as Mann broke down, then ruled her testimony could continue on Tuesday.
Weinstein was reportedly “sleeping at times” during the testimony, according to The Associated Press. When asked why he was sleeping as he left the courtroom, AP notes he “scowled” and said: “Oh please.”
Mann’s testimony also included graphic details about what her allegations against Weinstein entail. She said Weinstein urinated on her in the shower and sometimes participated in role play. Her testimony on Friday had included vivid descriptions of Weinstein’s behavior and body during their sexual interactions, including a claim that he didn’t have testicles.
Mann also testified Friday that Weinstein screamed at her when she told him she had a boyfriend, exclaiming, “You owe me one more time!” before he allegedly raped her again.
Weinstein is charged with first- and third-degree rape, as well as predatory sexual assault, in relation to Mann. He has said that all interactions with her were consensual.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.
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