Born in a tiny Washington dairy town where “everyone knows everyone,” the woman knew it would be a struggle to move to Los Angeles and chase her dreams of becoming an actress.
In 2013, the woman said she was spending more time waiting tables than acting when she accidentally approached a Hollywood power player at a party.
She didn’t even know who Harvey Weinstein was, but when she found out, she wondered if the connection was actually divine intervention.
“When I met Harvey, I’d given up a lot to be in Hollywood and … with my religious background and everything I thought God was blessing me,” she said.
In the years that followed, she said her relationship with Weinstein instead devolved into a personal hell.
For nearly four hours, the woman detailed her allegedly abusive relationship with the mogul in a Manhattan courtroom, where Weinstein is charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and faces life in prison. The testimony was tense and emotional, with the woman often breaking into sobs so loud they could be heard in the gallery even after she was led into another room.
The woman’s alleged entanglements with the Miramax co-founder spanned two cities and ranged from compassionate to brutal.
One day, she said, he walked her between the shelves of Book Soup in West Hollywood helping her find books he believed would advance her acting career. Another, she alleged, he dragged her through the hallways of a hotel before violently raping her.
“It was like Jekyll and Hyde. He could be the most charming, informative person; he could lift you up to anyone he introduced you to and then behind closed doors it was … dependent on if I gave him what he wanted,” she said.
The woman’s testimony marked a critical moment in the case. Of the three women whose accusations led to charges in New York, hers is the only story that has not been shared publicly before. The Times does not identify women who make sexual assault allegations unless they choose to go public outside of court.
Weinstein has denied all wrongdoing and his attorneys have argued that each alleged assault was consensual.
The complex nature of the woman’s relationship with Weinstein will be critical to his defense.
While she described violent rapes at Weinstein’s hands in Los Angeles and New York — including the 2013 attack at a Manhattan hotel that prompted some of the charges for which he now stands trial — she also said they had several consensual sexual encounters.
Defense attorney Damon Cheronis has claimed the two were in a “loving relationship.” The defense is expected to provide hundreds of e-mails between the two and to call on a friend of the woman who they say will paint their relationship in a different light.
Describing herself as a “little nervous” as she sat down in the courtroom, the woman waited for several seconds before answering a simple question about where she lived.
At the end of the party where they first met in Los Angeles, Weinstein expressed interest in the woman’s acting career. After several more meetings — including an incident in which a shirtless Weinstein asked her for a massage — the woman said their relationship turned ugly after drinks at the Montage Beverly Hills.
Weinstein told the woman and another actress that he was looking at a script for a vampire film, according to the woman, who said the mogul declared they would be “perfect” for the lead roles.
Afterward, she said, Weinstein invited the women up to his hotel room, promising nothing untoward would happen since he was a “harmless old man.”
Once upstairs, however, the woman said Weinstein backed her into a bedroom and closed the door, where he tried to kiss and grab her, while she struggled to twist out of his grasp.
“The more I fought, the angrier he got,” the woman said, alleging Weinstein forced oral sex on her.
Despite the alleged incident at the Montage, the woman said she proceeded to participate in a number of consensual sex acts with him.
The woman said Weinstein reminded her of her father, adding that she was desperate for the mogul’s approval in the acting field, while describing a consensual but harrowing relationship where the Miramax co-founder treated her well in public but allegedly used her as a sexual plaything in private.
While she described a number of the encounters as consensual — the woman said she felt “compassion” for Weinstein — she also said she was not attracted to him. During their encounters, she said Weinstein was domineering and verbally abusive.
In March 2013, the woman said, she traveled to Manhattan along with a friend who worked as an agent and tried to set up a meeting with Weinstein. But Weinstein showed up early and booked a room. The woman, who said she did not want her friends to learn of their dynamic, got into a fight with him in the hotel lobby.
The mogul grabbed her by the arm and pulled her aside before leading her to the room, she alleged. Once inside, he physically barred her from leaving and ordered her to undress, according to the woman, who said up to that point they had engaged only in oral sex acts.
Unable to escape, the woman said she “gave up” and had sex with Weinstein against her will.
Later in the same year, the woman said Weinstein helped her find work as a hairdresser at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. By that time she had begun dating an actor, which Weinstein had expressly forbidden. But she said she was in love and wanted to tell Weinstein, hoping he would end their situation.
Sobbing from the witness stand, the woman told jurors Friday that Weinstein grabbed her once she had admitted she was dating an actor.
“His eyes changed and he wasn’t there. He picked me up from the chair … he was screaming, ‘You owe me! You owe me one more time!’” she alleged, saying he dragged her to a hotel room and raped her.
The woman said she had been interviewed by law enforcement in the Los Angeles area, though her allegation is not among those that resulted in the filing of criminal charges in California earlier this month. Los Angeles prosecutors have said they are still reviewing three other women’s allegations for possible charges, and declined to file in three other cases.
Police in Beverly Hills, where the woman described an assault in 2013, referred questions to the district attorney’s office. A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment.
At the end of the assault she described in Los Angeles, the woman said Weinstein finally agreed to leave her alone — as long as she started providing him a new service.
“OK, now you can go have your relationship,” he said, according to the woman. “And what you can do is you can bring me other girls.”