Jurors in New York heard testimony this week from one of the actresses who accused Harvey Weinstein of raping her. Annabella Sciorra, best known for playing a mob boss’s mistress on The Sopranos, described how Weinstein forced his way into her apartment one night in 1993, held her down on the bed, and assaulted her.
Sciorra did not go to the police at the time because she did not understand the definition of rape, which she thought of as only a random, back-alley attack. “I thought he was an OK guy,” she said. “I felt confused.”
Six women are scheduled to testify at Weinstein’s trial, though prosecutors have only charged him with assaulting two of them. Statute of limitations laws have forced prosecutors to get creative in how they present charges against alleged serial abusers. The four other women at Weinstein’s trial will testify in an attempt to bolster the believability of the two main victims by showing that the accusations follow a pattern of behavior.
That tactic worked in the second trial of comedian Bill Cosby, at which the judge allowed testimony from five more accusers in addition to the victim in the case. Cosby’s first jury could not reach a verdict, but the second one declared him guilty. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will also use the approach in the misconduct case against actor Cuba Gooding Jr., who is charged with groping three women. Two additional women will testify about their experiences with Gooding at the trial, a judge decided this week.
Meanwhile, after Weinstein’s trial wraps up in New York, he will face additional charges of rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles. —L.L.