An aspiring actor and screenwriter who met Harvey Weinstein in 2013 to pitch a script testified that a business meeting went horribly wrong she was sexually assaulted by the former Hollywood producer who suddenly undressed himself, groped her breasts and masturbated.
Lauren Young, who previously testified in Weinstein’s New York trial in 2020, took the stand in the already-convicted rapist’s criminal trial in Los Angeles last Friday with her testimony continuing through Monday. In New York, she was called by the prosecution as a “prior bad acts” uncharged witness, but in the current trial, her allegations carry a charge of sexual battery by restraint.
Young — who is being referred to as Jane Doe #2 in the Los Angeles trial — is the only woman to testify in both trials.
Though Weinstein has been convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York where he was sentenced to 23 years in prison, the Los Angeles trial is based on 11 entirely new charges, which have nothing to do with the case in New York. (Weinstein is currently appealing the New York conviction.)
Young testified that she was cornered in a hotel bathroom by Weinstein, who unzipped her dress and assaulted her, against her will, as she was saying, “No, no, no.”
She told the jury that she had shown up to the Montage in Beverly Hills, Calif. for a meeting with Weinstein in the hotel lobby to pitch a script. The meeting was arranged by a woman named Claudia Salinas, who met Young at an industry dinner the year prior, and informed Young that she knew Weinstein and could help connect her, so that she could pitch her script. After a brief discussion downstairs at the Montage with Weinstein and Salinas, Young says she was asked to come upstairs, and she believed the meeting would continue to be professional. When she was ushered upstairs, she was guided by Salinas into a room that ended up being Weinstein’s hotel suite, and once she was brought into the hotel bathroom, Salinas shut the door and she was left alone with Weinstein.
Young told the jury she was “in disbelief.” She added, “This was a girl I thought was my new friend…I just couldn’t believe she would do that to me — another girl.”
Young said that Weinstein abruptly got naked, jumped in a shower and blocked her from exiting through the door, as he was masturbating and grabbing for her breast. She testified that Weinstein then tried to grab her vagina, but she used her hands as a shield to block him from penetrating her, as he shoved his hands underneath her dress.
“I was disgusted,” Young told the jury. “I had never seen a big guy like that naked.” She said she was around 115 pounds, and thought Weinstein could have been 300 pounds. “I was really frail and he was a really big man,” she added.
“I wanted to run, but I didn’t think I could,” Young said. “I couldn’t fathom what was happening to me.”
Young said she backed up toward the sink to try to get away from Weinstein, but he kept talking to her and rambling, as if nothing was wrong. “He said, ‘It’s okay, we’re just going to talk,’” and then told her that other actresses do this and “this is how I know you can act.”
When she turned away from him to try to avoid him, he approached her and unzipped the back of her dress. “He was grabbing my breasts and jerking off and squinting at me with this look,” Young told the jury, getting a bit teary. “He was just masturbating and groping me…I was in complete shock…I was really grossed out by his body and the look he was giving me.”
In the courtroom, the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson, showed jurors the dress that Young was wearing the night of her alleged assault. He also questioned her about Weinstein’s genitalia because she had drawn an image of Weinstein’s body for detectives, after explaining that his testicles were abnormal. “His penis was so disgusting,” Young said. “It looked like it had been chopped off and sewn back on…I didn’t see a full sack…I literally just saw a penis.” She added,” “I wasn’t trying to look at it, but it was something I had’t seen before.” (Weinstein’s genitalia has come up numerous times in the trial, with both the prosecution and the defense asking women on the stand to describe his testicles, which have been removed, due to a surgery.)
Young said Weinstein ignored her saying “no,” and proceeded to finish and then ejaculated onto a towel on the bathroom floor. She recalls reaching for the door in the bathroom, but Weinstein was in the way. She remembers thinking, “How am I going to get out of here safely?”
“Everything happened so fast,” she said on the stand. “I was in so much shock…I just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.” She felt “numb” and like she was “outside my body, like I couldn’t move. I was frozen,” she told jurors.
After the assault, she left the bathroom and saw Salinas and “shot her an evil look” because she felt like she “roped me in on something.” Young got in her car and cried. She immediately went to tell two of her friends what had happened. (Last week in the trial, one of those friends, a musician named Ryan Beatty, testified to corroborate her story.) Young told the jury that she didn’t know if she should call the cops because she knew Weinstein was powerful, and wasn’t sure if the authorities would help her. “I knew he had a lot of power,” she testified. “I was so paranoid and so scared.”
Young never saw Weinstein again. But the day after the alleged assault in 2013, an executive from The Weinstein Company, Barbara Schneeweiss, had called Young into their offices for a meeting. (Schneeweiss, who began as Weinstein’s assistant and rose the ranks at The Weinstein Company to become an executive producer on “Project Runway,” has been mentioned in testimony from numerous women on both of Weinstein’s trials, who have all explained that she helped coordinate business meetings with Weinstein that ended up in them being allegedly assaulted.) Young told the jury that she showed up to that meeting with Schneeweiss due to of “fear of retaliation” because after Weinstein had assaulted her, she alleged, she thought he might call her agency and tell them to drop her. “I didn’t know if not going [to the meeting] would be worse,” Young said. “I was so scared.”
After the meeting, Schneeweiss followed up via email, but Young never responded. “Barbara said to send her headshots and I didn’t,” Young said on the stand. “I thought she was involved.” Days after he assault, she also received an invitation to one of Weinstein’s Oscar parties, but she did not go.
In 2018, Young called a hotline and reported the alleged assault to the police, which eventually led to her being called a a witness in the New York trial.
“At that point, other people were coming out and I felt safe to do so,” Young explained of coming forward in 2018. “I wanted to prevent it from happening to anyone else.”
Read More About:
Source: Read Full Article