Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra has confronted Harvey Weinstein from the witness stand, testifying that the former Hollywood studio boss overpowered and raped her.
Miss Sciorra claimed that during the 1990s, Weinstein made other crude overtures and often sent her packages with X-rated chocolates and Valium.
She alleged that Weinstein arrived early one morning at her Cannes Film Festival hotel room, wearing only his underwear with body oil in one hand and a videotape in the other.
She said he eventually left after she started frantically pushing buttons on the room phone to summon help.
Miss Sciorra claimed that the rape happened in the mid-1990's, after Weinstein dropped her off from a movie-business dinner and then appeared, uninvited, at her door a few minutes later.
In a quivering voice, Miss Sciorra told the jury that Weinstein barged into her apartment, threw her on a bed and forced himself on her as she tried to fight him off by kicking and punching him.
Miss Sciorra testified that after raping her, Weinstein went on to try to perform oral sex on her, saying, "This is for you," as her body "shut down." Recounting the accusation, she said she kept largely secret for decades.
"It was just so disgusting," she said.
She recalled that she started to shake: "I didn't even know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something."
Miss Sciorra said that she ran into Weinstein one month later and confronted him about what had happened, to which he replied: "That's what all the nice Catholic girls say."
Then, she told the jury, Weinstein leaned toward her and added menacingly: "This remains between you and I."
"I thought he was going to hit me right there," Miss Sciorra testified.
The 59-year-old actress became the first of Weinstein's accusers to testify at his trial.
The movie mogul whose downfall gave rise to the #MeToo movement is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his New York apartment in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in a hotel room in 2013.
Weinstein is not charged with attacking Sciorra, whose accusations date too far back to be prosecuted.
Instead, she testified as one of four additional accusers that prosecutors put on the stand to demonstrate that the powerful Hollywood producer had a pattern of preying on women.
Weinstein, 67, could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted.
The executive behind such Oscar-winning movies as "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love" has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.
The jury of seven men and five women listened tentatively and took notes on her testimony.
Weinstein was mostly expressionless, sometimes appearing to purse his lips as he chewed mints.
The defence attempted to seed doubts about Miss Sciorra's allegations, and she gave a slightly different version under their questioning, testifying that when the producer initially pushed her onto her bed, "he was kind of, in a friendly way, trying to cajole me" into having sex. She refused and soon found herself trying to get him off of her, she said.
Weinstein's lawyer Donna Rotunno noted that Miss Sciorra never went to police or a doctor about the alleged rape.
"At the time, I didn't understand that that was rape," Miss Sciorra said.
Mrs Rotunno also suggested that Miss Sciorra's judgment and recollection were clouded by drinking.
The actress said she remembered having only one glass of wine with dinner and had kicked a Valium habit that developed after Weinstein sent her pills.
In opening statements on Wednesday, another Weinstein lawyer, Damon Cheronis, argued the encounter was consensual, not rape, saying Miss Sciorra once told a friend that she "did a crazy thing and had sex with Harvey Weinstein."
Miss Sciorra drew acclaim for her part in Spike Lee's 1991 movie "Jungle Fever" and her role as a pregnant woman molested by her doctor in 1992's "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" the next year. She later appeared on "The Sopranos."
She said she met Weinstein at an industry event in Los Angeles in 1990 or 1991. By 1993, she had starred in one of his company's movies — the romantic comedy "The Night We Never Met."
She would later act in another Weinstein-produced picture, 1997's "Cop Land," though she said she didn't realize when auditioning that his studio was involved.
Miss Sciorra said that after the alleged rape, she started to cut herself and didn't want to leave the house.
"I thought he was an OK guy. I felt confused. I felt like I wished I never opened the door," Miss Sciorra said.
"I wanted to pretend it never happened. ... I wanted to get back to my life," she told the jury. She did not come forward publicly until 2017.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/harvey-weinstein-trial-annabella-sciorra-testifies-rape-allegations-us-crime/84735aa8-1fb7-4f91-9b26-9a767dd0d2e1