Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court, on January 22, 2020 for opening arguments in his rape and sexual assault trial in New York City. - Opening arguments in Harvey Weinstein's rape and sexual assault trial are due Wednesday, with the defense expected to detail "loving" emails between the once-mighty movie producer and his accusers. Weinstein, 67, faces life in prison if convicted of predatory sexual assault charges related to two women in the high-profile New York proceedings seen as key to the #MeToo movement.
Actress testifies about alleged Weinstein sexual assault & rape
01:28 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: This story includes graphic language of a sexual nature.

New York CNN  — 

Harvey Weinstein said he had a vasectomy when he allegedly raped an aspiring actress who agreed to meet the Hollywood mogul about a possible role in one of his movies, the woman testified in court Wednesday.

Tarale Wulff said that she went to Weinstein’s New York apartment in 2005 for what she believe would be a professional meeting but he grabbed her by the arms, forced her onto a bed and lay on top of her.

“Don’t worry I had a vasectomy,” he said, according to her testimony.

As Weinstein had sex with her, Wulff said, she “went blank” because it was easier for her than fight.

Wulff, an aspiring actress from Long Island, met Weinstein in 2005 while working as a cocktail waitress at Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan. Earlier that day, she been called to the Weinstein Company offices to discuss a potential role in a film. She had been given an envelope labeled “Pulse” – as in the movie produced by Weinstein’s brother Robert Weinstein – and had been waiting to read for the part of Isabelle when an employee told her a driver would take her to meet Weinstein, Wulff testified.

Wulff is one of two women who testified Wednesday about unwanted sexual encounters with Weinstein more than 15 years ago as they sought to further their acting careers.

Through a spokeswoman, Weinstein previously has denied any instances of “non-consensual” sex or “acts of retaliation.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Dawn Dunning testified that Weinstein invoked the actresses Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek to pressure her into having three-way sex with him.

In addition, Dunning testified through tears that Weinstein put his hand up her skirt in an earlier incident as his employees sat in an adjoining room at a hotel.

Dunning and Wulff, along with Lauren Young, are considered “prior bad acts” witnesses, which means their testimony is not connected to any specific charges. Prosecutors instead argue that their testimony will show that Weinstein had a consistent pattern of sexual abuse and that he “knew he was preying on the naive and inexperienced,” Hast said last week.

In general, “prior bad acts” witnesses aim to strengthen the prosecution’s case, particularly in a “he said-she said” sexual assault trial with limited physical evidence. In Bill Cosby’s sexual assault trial, for example, five women testified as “prior bad acts” witnesses.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to five charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, which can be punished by up to life in prison.

The charges are based on testimony from three women who say he sexually attacked them. So far in the trial, actress Annabella Sciorra said that Weinstein raped her in the winter of 1993-1994, and former production assistant Miriam Haley testified that he pinned her down and forced her into a sex act in 2006. Also due to testify to an alleged attack is Jessica Mann.

Weinstein’s attorneys have attacked the credibility of the women and pointed to inconsistencies and unclear details in their stories. Attorney Damon Cheronis has also pointed out that some of the women continued to have contact with Weinstein after these alleged incidents, which he has argued shows that the episodes were consensual.

Weinstein masturbated in front of waitress, she testifies

At least a week before the alleged rape, Wulff met Weinstein while serving the owner’s table at Cipriani Upstairs, which Weinstein frequented as a friend of the owner.

When she served Weinstein a drink, he told her “you have a great look” and that she should talk to his people, Wulff recalled during her testimony.

Later that night, Wulff had been wiping the bar’s surface when Weinstein pulled her by the arm without saying anything and led her into a private, dark terrace past the employee locker area. She realized Weinstein was masturbating in front of her and could see his hand’s motion under his untucked shirt, Wulff testified. She said she threw her towel at Weinstein and ran out past him.

After the alleged assault in Weinstein’s apartment, Wulff said he took her back to the company’s offices and an employee gave her a script but she didn’t audition that day. They told her to call when she was ready to audition, but she never did, Wulff testified.

When asked why she never went to the police or told anyone, Wulff became emotional in court and said it was easier for her to “not make a fuss” or “cause problems.”

Dunning says Weinstein invoked Charlize Theron and Salma Hayek to pressure her

Dunning, who spoke to The New York Times in October 2017, testified that Weinstein groped her in 2004 and, in the other incident, tried to pressure her into having three-way sex with him by naming the prominent actresses.

An assistant invited Dunning to meet with Weinstein at a cigar bar in the InterContinental Hotel, she said. When she arrived, the assistant told her to go up to his hotel room to discuss acting contracts, she testified.

Weinstein opened the hotel room door in nothing but a bathrobe, Dunning testified. He then gestured at three stacks of papers on a coffee table and told her that if she had a threesome with him and his assistant, he would sign those contracts for her to perform in his next three films.

Dunning said under oath that Weinstein asked her for a threesome. When she laughed, he got angry and said that was how Theron and Hayek had succeeded, she testified.

“This is how this industry works,” he told her, according to her testimony.

Theron has said that Weinstein lied about sleeping with her in an attempt to manipulate other women. Hayek has said that she repeatedly rebuffed Weinstein’s harassment and that he raged at her on the set “Frida.” The New York Times has reported that Weinstein falsely claimed he had sex with Gwyneth Paltrow and other actresses as he allegedly attempted to coerce women into having sex with him.

CNN reached out Wednesday to representatives for Theron and Hayek.

Dunning said she ran out of the room and never spoke to Weinstein again. She went home and told her fiancé and several other people about the altercation, and she stopped pursuing an acting career, she testified. The female assistant called her to speak with Weinstein in the days after the incident, but she hung up and didn’t take his call.

On cross-examination, Weinstein’s defense attorney asked questions that highlighted that Weinstein didn’t touch Dunning or try to stop her from leaving the InterContinental Hotel room that day.

Dunning said she first met Weinstein weeks before that incident at a New York City nightclub, where she worked as a bottle service waitress while trying to start her acting career. He told her he’d try to help with her career, she testified, and they met with his assistant on several occasions to talk about potential opportunities.

In a hotel suite with his employees in a nearby sitting area, Weinstein sat next to Dunning on the hotel bed and put his hand up her skirt, she testified. He then put his hand underneath her underwear and partially penetrated her vagina, she said as she teared up and her voice quivered.

She froze for a minute because she was caught off guard, she testified. When she jumped up from the bed, Weinstein began speaking very fast, telling her it wouldn’t happen again and told her, “Don’t make a big deal about this,” she said.

Dunning said she left shortly after the incident and never told anyone about it because it was “embarrassing.”

“I wanted to pretend like it didn’t happen,” Dunning said.

Attorney Arthur Aidala also spoke at length to stress that from 2017, when Dunning first spoke to The New York Times, to 2019, she did not say anything about the first interaction with Weinstein, during which he allegedly sexually assaulted her.

Aidala spent considerable time asking about Dunning’s interview with Don Lemon on CNN, suggesting inconsistencies in her story.

Dunning’s former fiance and a casting director could testify Thursday

As the trial continues on Thursday, the prosecution intends to call witnesses that will support Dunning and Wullf’s testimony. Dunning’s former fiancé Lincoln Davies is expected to take the stand as well a restaurant manager for Cipriani Upstairs in Manhattan, who is likely going to talk about seeing Wulff with Weinstein on the night of the alleged assault.

Monika Mikkelsen, who is a casting director on the movie “Pulse,” is also expected to be called. Mikkelsen is set to testify that she has never met Wulff and say the movie was actually casted by Weinstein’s brother and co-founder of the Weinstein Company.

The casting director’s testimony, prosecutors said, speaks to how Weinstein was “tricking women into his lair.”

The defense objected to all of these witnesses.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of Monika Mikkelsen.

CNN’s Megan Thomas contributed to this report.