Model tells Harvey Weinstein jury she was trapped inside hotel bathroom

Weinstein arrives for his sexual assault trial in New York City, Feb 5, 2020.
Weinstein arrives for his sexual assault trial in New York City, Feb 5, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Lauren Young was a model and aspiring actor when she got what she thought was her big break, she told the jury in Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial.

That break turned into an assault, she testified on Wednesday (Feb 5) in New York state court in lower Manhattan.

Young told the jurors that she had befriended a woman at an Oscars party in February 2012. A year later the woman, a friend of Weinstein, invited her to meet with him at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills.

She'd been working on a script, Young told the jurors, and was "excited" about pitching the famous producer.

"I got ready and put on my best dress," she said.

Young, 30, told the panel of seven men and five women that Weinstein came down to join her and his friend at the hotel bar.

"He sat down and was on the phone and we started discussing what ideas we had for my script," she testified.

"He said what about America's Next Top Model?" Young told the court she declined.

"I was trying to transition into acting, and reality TV just wasn't what I wanted," she said.

Weinstein appeared distracted and told both women he needed to make an awards presentation involving the director Quentin Tarantino, Young told the jury.

"He was looking down at his phone," she said. "I was so excited to talk to him, but he wasn't really paying attention to me. He said, 'Let's finish this conversation and follow me upstairs, I have to get ready to present an award.'"

 
 
 

Young said she followed Weinstein to his room, initially with the friend behind her, and kept going before realising he had trapped her in the bathroom.

Weinstein stripped, fondled Young's breasts and ejaculated on the floor, according to prosecutors. After the alleged assault, they say, he and an assistant kept reaching out to Young, but she refused to have any further contact with him.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with rape and predatory sexual assault for alleged attacks on two women. Young is the last of three other women the Manhattan district attorney has called to establish a pattern of predation. A fourth witness, the actor Annabella Sciorra, told the court Weinstein raped her in the early 1990s, testimony that could help send him to prison for the rest of his life if he is convicted.

Weinstein maintains that the sexual encounters were consensual and the relationships mutually beneficial. His lawyers are working to persuade the jury that women who willingly engaged in sexual activity with him years ago have only recently converted the acts to assault in the telling.