Actress Lauren Young testified Wednesday in Harvey Weinstein’s Manhattan rape- and sexual-assault trial, alleging that he trapped her in a bathroom, groped her breast, and masturbated in front of her seven years ago. The proceedings took a bizarre turn when Weinstein’s defense tried using Young’s description of his testicles to discredit her.
Young, who held back tears, told jurors that what she thought was a business meeting at a Beverly Hills hotel bar in February 2013 turned into a night of horror after Weinstein suggested she and an associate join him in his hotel room. After going upstairs, Young said she followed Weinstein through the room, only to wind up in a bathroom with him. The woman who was with them, former Miss New Mexico Claudia Salinas, closed the bathroom door.
Weinstein opened the shower door, which blocked the main door to the bathroom, took off his clothes, and got into the shower. Weinstein bathed for “two seconds, brief rinse,” she alleged.
“He stepped in front of me, and I went to approach the door,” Young said, later adding, “I felt so trapped, and I was in shock. I just started backing up away from him.”
Young said she was backed against the sink.
“He starts coming closer to me, so I turned, because I didn’t want to look at his naked body,” she recalled. “He came behind me and unzipped my dress, and started pulling it down and turning me around, and then he [was] masturbating …” Young said he was grabbing her right breast with one hand and masturbating with the other.
Weinstein said, “How am I going to know you can act?” she claimed.
“I said ‘No, no, no’ the whole time.’
Weinstein tried to touch her vagina but she blocked him, so he returned to groping her breast while “squinting,” she testified.
Weinstein then allgedly ejaculated onto a towel.
“He left the bathroom first, and I stayed standing there in shock … I pulled up my dress — I don’t even think I zipped it — and I walked out of the bathroom, and Claudia Salinas was standing right there,” she also said.
Prosecutor Meghan Hast asked Young to describe Weinstein’s body.
She said that he was “hairy” and had “moles” and fat “rolls.”
Young described it as a “disgusting-looking penis,” and that “it looked like it had been cut … not a normal-looking scar from circumcision.”
“Something didn’t look normal,” she continued, saying she didn’t see “balls in the sack.”
On cross-examination, Weinstein attorney Damon Cheronis tried to undermine Young’s credibility by asking Young about her description of his body. Through questioning, Cheronis tried to establish that Young’s description of Weinstein earlier in the day was at odds with what she previously told law enforcement.
Cheronis pointed out that Young had testified that she “didn’t see any testicles, right?”
“I did not,” Young said of seeing Weinstein’s testicles.
Cheronis then asked Young about her description of Weinstein’s body when she was speaking with law enforcement in fall 2018. (She had reached out to a tip line about the alleged incident in October 2017.) He asked Young if she told a detective, “He has them. I don’t know if there was one or two.”
“Today, you testified that you didn’t see any testicles?” Cheronis pressed.
“I saw that there was a sack,” she said.
Cheronis then asked her about the picture she drew for law enforcement.
“You drew a picture of a man holding his penis in the picture?”
“I drew that,” she said, referring to the drawing which was seen by jurors.
She also said at one point that during this incident, “he’s just carrying on with normal conversation. ‘This is what all actresses do to make it.’”
The discussion of Weinstein’s body has come up multiple times during the trial. Accuser Jessica Mann said on Friday that the first time she saw Weinstein naked, she thought he was deformed and intersex. “He has an extreme scarring that I didn’t know — maybe [he] was a burn victim … He does not have testicles, and it appears that he has a vagina,” she also said.
On Tuesday, photos of Weinstein’s nude body were shown to jurors.
Young, 30, is one of three women who are testifying about alleged “prior bad acts” committed by Weinstein. Prosecutors in Los Angeles have charged Weinstein for the alleged groping of Young.
The other two women attesting two prior alleged bad acts, and who have already taken the witness stand, are Dawn Dunning and Tarale Wulff. Dunning has accused Weinstein of touching her genitals without consent, and claimed that he offered her work in exchange for a “threesome.” Wulff alleged Weinstein masturbated in front of her at Cipriani Soho, and said that he raped her at a later date.
The disgraced producer does not face charges in New York City for alleged incidents involving these three women, and prosecutors cannot use their testimony to make the argument that Weinstein has a bad character or pattern of behaving this way. But they can use these witnesses’ testimony to demonstrate intent and opportunity.
Young went into detail about how she wound up allegedly trapped in a bathroom with Weinstein.
Young said she “hit it off” with Salinas at a dinner in February 2012. Weinstein was there, and she had seen him at other events around Los Angeles. Salinas appeared to know Weinstein, she said. Young and Salinas talked business, including about a screenplay Young was working on. They exchanged contact information that evening.
Salinas reached out in February 2013 about Young’s script. According to Young, Salinas said to bring this script to a meeting with her and Weinstein at a bar in the Montage Beverly Hills hotel.
“I was excited. I got ready, and I put on my best dress,” Young said. “I was excited to network and pitch my ideas.” While Young didn’t bring a copy of her script, as it wasn’t finished, she brought her friend’s.
When Young arrived at the hotel, Salinas was there. They went to the bar, and Weinstein came to meet them about 10 minutes later. He was on his phone much of the time. They did discuss ideas.
“He said, ‘What about America’s Next Top Model?,’ and I said, ‘No, I don’t want to be on reality TV. I would rather, you know, wait.’ And, you know, I didn’t want to be on America’s Next Top Model. I was trying to transition into acting, and reality TV just wasn’t what I wanted.”
At one point, Weinstein said he had to work on something related to an award.
“He said, ‘Let’s finish this conversation,’ and ‘Follow me upstairs,’” she said.
“So I followed,” she said.
They walked down the hallway, toward the elevators. Weinstein was in front, and Salinas was behind her. They went upstairs and went down a hallway, walking in the same order. They were still discussing business. Young said she followed him into a room.
Young continued to follow Weinstein through the room and through a doorway. “We went past the bedroom and made another right, which led me into another room, which was a bathroom,” she claimed.
“Did you know you were going into the bathroom as you were following Harvey Weinstein?,” Hast asked.
“No, I did not know.”
“Had you ever been in that hotel suite before?”
“No,” Young answered.
It was also revealed in court several days ago that Young claims to have found the dress from that evening, and that Los Angeles prosecutors might test it for DNA evidence. Cheronis wanted to prevent Young from testifying, saying there wasn’t enough time to test this dress for DNA which, he said, could clear Weinstein.
Weinstein is charged in New York City for allegedly raping Mann in 2013, as well as an alleged sexual assault on onetime Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi; prosectors are using Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s testimony that Weinstein had raped her around late 1993 to make the case that he has a pattern of predatory behavior. In addition to charging Weinstein with the alleged groping of Young, Los Angeles prosecutors have charged him with allegedly raping another woman.
Rothschild Capulong, a former night manager at the DoubleTree Hotel in Midtown East — where Mann said Weinstein had raped her — took the stand earlier this morning. Capulong was asked to review hotel records from March 18, 2013, which prosecutors maintain is the date of this alleged rape. Capulong, whose shift ran long, said he checked in Weinstein and that there was a “female companion” with him who demonstrated “discontent.” Capulong said he saw them leave the check-in area.