Weinstein trial moves swiftly with more accusers on deck

Entertainment

Harvey Weinstein, center, exits following his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Michael Owens)

NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s trial is moving at a faster pace than predicted, with three more of his accusers expected to testify before the end of the week .

A secondary witness took the stand Tuesday as part of the prosecution’s effort to corroborate Mimi Haleyi’s earlier testimony, where she detailed her allegation that Weinstein forced oral sex on her at his New York City apartment in 2006.

Elizabeth Entin, Haleyi’s former roommate, told jurors that the former “Project Runway”production assistant told her about the encounter a short time after it happened.

Entin said Haleyi was anxious and pacing as she recounted telling Weinstein, “No. No.”

She said she told Haleyi, “That sounds like rape. Why don’t you call a lawyer?” but Haleyi didn’t want to pursue it or talk about it.

On cross-examination by one of Weinstein’s lawyers, Donna Rotunno, Entin also recalled thinking at first that it was just “stupid” that Weinstein kept showing up unannounced at the women’s apartment.

“Because this older guy was trying to get your friend? Correct?” Rotunno asked.

“Correct,” Entin said.

“And you thought it funny?” Rotnunno asked.

“We did, at the time,” Entin said, recalling how her pet Chihuahua, Peanut, once chased Weinstein around the apartment.

The women viewed Weinstein “as a pathetic older man trying really hard to hit on” Haleyi, Entin said.

The day’s court actions abbreviated, ending by 11 a.m.

As Weinstein left the courtroom, a reporter in the hall asked, “Mr. Weinstein, are you afraid of Chihuahuas?”

Weinstein smiled. “Do I look like I’m afraid of Chihuahuas?” he said.

Later this week, two more women are expected to testify about alleged “prior bad acts” by Weinstein — called “Molineux” witnesses — followed by a key witness who says he raped her at a hotel in 2013.

A final Molineux witness would testify next Monday, completing the bulk of a prosecution case in the trial that was initially expected to stretch into March.

Lawyers for Weinstein, 67, who is charged with sexually assaulting Haleyi and raping an aspiring actress in 2013, have insisted any sexual encounters were consensual and zeroed in on his accusers’ continued contact with him after the alleged assaults.

Last week, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testifiedthat Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s. While outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, Sciorra’s allegations could be a factor as prosecutors look to prove Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they agree to be named as Haleyi and Sciorra have.

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