Jessica Mann, one of the women who has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, testified in court on Friday that the two of them had a secret, abusive relationship.
Mann, a former actress who now works as a hairstylist, elicited audible gasps in the downtown Manhattan courtroom on multiple occasions while describing sexual encounters with Weinstein and offering jaw-dropping descriptions of the defendant’s body.
In an emotional testimony, Mann alleged that Weinstein raped her in a New York City hotel room in 2013. She said he blocked her from leaving the room, demanded she undress, and then forced himself on her.
Mann described rushing to the bathroom, where she saw a needle in the garbage can. After Googling the name on the syringe later, she said she learned the medication was meant to treat erectile dysfunction.
Weinstein has been charged with sexually assaulting the actress Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Mann in 2013. He is pleading not guilty.
‘It was like Jekyll and Hyde’
Mann said the pair first met at a party in Los Angeles, and he pursued a sexual relationship with her shortly afterward.
Despite what she described as a lack of attraction to him, Mann said she continued to see him — and had consensual oral sex with him — for reasons she struggled to articulate.
Mann said she did not have sexual or romantic feelings towards Weinstein, but had “confusing emotions” that frequently fluctuated.
“His approval meant so much to me,” she said.
At other points, she described fearing his temper.
“It was like Jekyll and Hyde,” she said. “He would be the most charming, informative person — he could lift you up. And behind closed doors, it would be dependent upon if I gave him what he wanted.”
Victims of domestic abuse, studies say, do not leave their abusers for a number of reasons. In many cases, the abuser seeks to exert power over their victim. Mann testified that Weinstein told her she wasn’t permitted to date anyone else “in the industry,” and later grew enraged when she began dating an actor.
Mann’s graphic descriptions of Weinstein’s body shocked the courtroom
In one particularly jarring description of Weinstein’s genitalia, Mann told the court the first time she saw Weinstein naked, she thought he was “deformed.”
“He does not have testicles and it appears that he had a vagina,” Mann said, acknowledging later that Weinstein did have a penis.
When reporters later asked Weinstein outside the courtroom if Mann’s description of his genitals was accurate, he laughed and sarcastically responded, “Yeah, perfect.”
When the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi, asked Mann to describe Weinstein’s hygiene, Mann said it was poor.
“He smelled like s— — excuse me, sorry. Like poop. And he just was dirty,” she said.
Throughout Mann’s testimony, Weinstein’s defense team objected multiple times.
Juda Engelmayer, Weinstein’s press representative, told Insider that Mann’s testimony and other witnesses brought forth by prosecutors suggest there are “irregularities” in the case.
“There are clearly inconsistencies in the testimony that belie rationality, and these will have to be explored during the defense’s cross-examination,” he said.
Mann is one of six women to testify against Weinstein during the trial, but only the second whose allegations resulted in criminal charges.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and said all the encounters with the women were consensual. His spokesperson didn’t immediately offer comment when Insider asked about Mann’s testimony Friday afternoon.
Weinstein’s defense attorney sparred with Mann in a hostile cross-examination
Weinstein’s defense attorney Donna Rotunno began grilling Mann during cross-examination Friday afternoon, growing hostile at points and accusing her multiple times of lying to Weinstein by feigning sexual attraction towards him.
At one point, Rotunno homed in on a threesome between Mann, Weinstein, and another woman, which Mann had testified about earlier. Mann had described the encounter as “uncomfortable” and traumatic, and said she cried in the bathroom afterwards.
But Rotunno presented the jury with an unpublished blog post Mann had written in her phone about a threesome with an “older man” and another woman, and forced Mann to read the entry aloud in court.
The blog post bore striking similarities to the threesome Mann said she had with Weinstein — except in the post, Mann had described the encounter as exciting and at certain points enjoyable, not traumatic.
“This is what really happened,” Rotunno said, referring to the blog post. “This note in your phone talks about the older man you were casually dating, it talks about the Italian actress, correct? It talks about touching a boob like you talked about in your cross-examination, right? It has the details of going into the bathroom and being upset.”
But Mann responded that the blog post was only loosely based on her experience with Weinstein, and that she wept as she wrote it because she found the actual experience so upsetting.
“I wanted to reframe it for comedy,” Mann testified. “There’s a reason this one never got published. It was painful for me and I couldn’t put it out there.”
Rotunno’s cross-examination of Mann is set to continue Monday.
Jacob Shamsian contributed reporting.
This article has been updated with additional information.