“The Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, who says Harvey Weinstein raped her in the 1990s, was called to give evidence in his trial Thursday as prosecutors try to prove the fallen movie mogul was a sexual predator.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping actress Jessica Mann, in the high-profile proceedings seen as key to the #MeToo movement.
Sciorra, best known for her role as Gloria Trillo in American mob drama “The Sopranos,” alleges that Weinstein raped her in her New York apartment on an unknown date sometime in the winter of 1993-94.
Her allegation is too old to be included on the charge sheet but the prosecution has called her as a witness to support a charge of predatory sexual assault.
That charge, which requires prosecutors to prove he sexually assaulted at least two people, carries possible life imprisonment.
In opening arguments, Wednesday, Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast, told the court that Weinstein “violently” raped Sciorra after forcing his way into her home in Manhattan.
He then forcibly performed oral sex on the actress, the prosecution said.
The attack left her “emotionally and physically destroyed” and led her to drink and even cutting herself, Hast added.
Sciorra was too scared to tell the police, the prosecutor said and did not reveal the alleged assault publicly until October 2017 when her account was published in The New Yorker magazine.
Hast also told the court that Weinstein turned up at Sciorra’s hotel room in Cannes in 1997 wearing just his underwear while carrying a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video cassette in the other.
Weinstein’s defence attorneys are expected to ferociously challenge Sciorra’s account.
During opening arguments, lawyer Damon Cheronis said there was no evidence of the alleged attack.
“Because there is no date given we can’t interview people to find out where Harvey Weinstein was that day. We can’t interview neighbours,” he told the court.
Cheronis said Sciorra once told a friend she “did a crazy thing” with Weinstein.
“She didn’t describe it as rape because it wasn’t,” he said.