Accuser called Harvey Weinstein 'spiritual soul mate', her former friend tells jury

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A former friend of Jessica Mann, one of the accusers in the Harvey Weinstein rape trial, told jurors on Monday that Mann did not show any signs of distress on the day the former Hollywood producer allegedly attacked her.
Film producer Harvey Weinstein leaves Criminal Court during his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, on Feb 10, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Former friends of two Harvey Weinstein accusers assailed their credibility at his sexual assault trial, with one saying accuser Jessica Mann once referred to the movie producer as her "soul mate".

Testifying on Monday (Feb 10) for the defence, Talita Maia, a Brazilian actor, contradicted Mann's account that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013 as Maia was in the next room.

Maia told the jury in New York state court that nothing unusual happened and that afterwards Mann, now 34, was "normal".

She testified that when she and Mann met Weinstein at a party in early 2013, he and Mann "appeared to be friends".

Under cross-examination, Maia said while Mann did not find Weinstein "attractive", she "spoke very highly of him" and that "she said a few times he was her spiritual soul mate".

Weinstein, 67, has been charged in New York with rape and predatory sexual assault for alleged attacks on Mann and Miriam Haley and could go to prison for the rest of his life if convicted.

His legal team on Monday also called Claudia Salinas, a Mexican actor-model, to refute the testimony of model Lauren Young, who testified last week that Weinstein sexually assaulted her in a hotel in Beverly Hills.

Young told the jury that when she went to the hotel to pitch a screenplay as an aspiring actor, he invited her to his room and Salinas trapped her in the bathroom with him.

Prosecutors tapped Young as one of three women to establish a pattern of sexual predation.

"Did you ever lure Lauren Young into a bathroom?" defence lawyer Damon Cheronis asked Salinas on Monday.

"No," said Salinas, who acknowledged on cross-examination that she was cast in two Weinstein movies.

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