Harvey Weinstein’s defense staged a searing cross-examination of a key prosecution witness on Friday, pointing to his self-proclaimed “fuzzy” evolving memories, accepting gifts and helping the disgraced producer’s career and wondering why she continued to visit her hotel room alone after several alleged assaults.
Lead defense attorney Mark Werksman was on the podium this time — not Alan Jackson, the pugnacious inquisitor who has conducted cross-examinations in Weinstein’s Los Angeles rape trial so far — to interview Jane Doe 3, a professional massage therapist. JD 3 spent most of Wednesday and Thursday at the booth, recounting how Weinstein hired her for a massage, assaulted and masturbated in front of her, vowed not to do it again — then did it multiple times on subsequent visits .
Werksman quickly realized on Friday what any casual observer might: that despite the alleged prior assaults, JD 3 continued to agree to meet him alone in his bedroom. He focused on the fourth encounter, when she brought her boss to a meeting with Weinstein at the Peninsula Hotel, where she says Weinstein fired her companion in the middle of the meeting and took her to his room for another unwanted sex act.
Werksman asked bluntly why she had come up that day.
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“I was scared and embarrassed and humiliated,” she said, crying and her voice rising in volume.
“Nevertheless,” Werksman replied, “nobody forced you to leave the Peninsula restaurant and go upstairs with Mr. Weinstein.”
Still crying, she almost screamed, “My ego made me!”
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She said she returned for a second massage after Weinstein promised in a text that “I won’t do it again”, telling her when she arrived that she wouldn’t let him touch her. That’s when she says Weinstein told her ‘we’re not close friends anymore’ – but showed her his penis several times and then proceeded to offer her tickets to the premiere and wrap up an agreement for a book on massage.
“That was part of the deal you made with him, wasn’t it? You watch him have sex, he’ll put you on the movie premiere list,” Werksman said, producing e- emails in between where she accepts several invitations, at one point asking for a plus-one from “The Artist” of the Weinstein company.”
“No,” she replied.
Werksman began her cross Friday by questioning the gaps in Jane Doe 3’s memory, which she says is why she had different accounts for each incident. She testified that “somatic healing” and an emotional intelligence seminar helped her regain memories she had blocked.
“You said [police in 2019] that the first time you gave Mr. Weinstein a massage, nothing happened. That you came back because you felt safe,” Werksman said.
“I can see why I said that because my memory at the time was very hazy,” she replied.
“I appreciate your candor on this, as your memory was hazy.”
“It’s clear now, but it wasn’t then,” she said. “From what I remember, that’s what I remembered.
“I understand you want to attribute it to poor memory, but I want to be clear to this jury,” Werksman said. “At the time, you had such a mistaken memory that you thought you were assaulted the second time you massaged him, not the first, yes or no?”
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At one point, Werksman returned to the Peninsula meeting with Weinstein and her boss.
“Here is a man that you said did horrible things to you and deeply traumatized you,” Werksman said. “But you were always ready to use it to get a meeting with [your boss] …why didn’t you say so [him] “I won’t ride with this man?” »
“I was still embarrassed,” she said. “It was humiliating.”
“You knew there was going to be some kind of sexual encounter, right?”
“I knew something was going to happen like he was going to masturbate in front of me,” she replied.
Werksman asked about a time when, perhaps a year later, Jane Doe 3 and her boss met Weinstein at one of the movie premieres she was invited to.
“You approached the man who had done despicable things to you and spoke to him at his movie premiere,” he said.
“It was in a public space,” Jane Doe 3 replied.
“You socialize with Mr. Weinstein, with Sean, as if nothing had happened.”
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During the redirect, prosecutors sought to clarify why memories of Jane Doe 3 may have faded over time.
“Over the years, you just hide the memories, so you don’t have to think about them,” she said, adding that she started “opening her mind” to traumatic memories around the time. she spoke with prosecutors in 2020.
The cross-examination and redirection of Jane Doe 3 was scheduled to continue Friday afternoon.
Weinstein faces 11 sexual assault charges stemming from allegations spanning from 2004 to 2013. The trial is expected to last until December after a two-week jury selection process that brought together a panel of nine men last Thursday and three women. Weinstein could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted.
He is already serving 23 years in a New York prison for first-degree felony sexual assault and third-degree rape, a conviction he was granted the right to appeal. Weinstein has maintained his innocence since The New York Times first published charges against him five years ago this month.
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