NEW YORK — The final accuser at Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial took the witness stand Wednesday, where she is expected to detail how he groped her in a hotel bathroom as prosecutors push to show the once-powerful movie mogul had a habit of preying on women.
Model and actress Lauren Marie Young alleges Weinstein stripped naked, masturbated in front of her and groped her breast in the bathroom of his Beverly Hills hotel room just days before the Oscars in February 2013.
“I was excited. I got ready. I put on my best dress,” the 30-year-old Young testified Wednesday about first connecting with Weinstein at the hotel. “I was excited to network and pitch my ideas.”
At some point Weinstein said, “let’s finish this conversation upstairs,” explaining that he had to present an award to Quentin Tarantino, she added before her testimony was interrupted by a lunch break.
Prosecutors have said a female friend of Weinstein’s who was in the hotel there shut the door and trapped Young in the bathroom with him.
“Lauren, scared and disgusted, escaped the bathroom, shocked at (Weinstein’s friend) who remained outside the bathroom door, gave a dirty look and fled, running home and hysterically recounting what happened to her two friends,” prosecutor Meghan Hast said in an opening statement.
Young is the third of three women prosecutors are calling to bolster their effort to portray him as a serial offender even though their accusations aren’t part of the underlying criminal charges at issue in the New York City trial.
Prosecutors called them as witnesses under a state law that allows testimony about so-called “prior bad acts,” enabling them to explore things like motive, opportunity, intent and a common scheme or plan.
Weinstein’s New York trial involves just two allegations: that he raped a woman in March 2013 and forced oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006. Weinstein, 67, has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney included Young’s allegations in charges they filed against Weinstein on Jan. 6, just as his New York trial was getting underway. The charges allege Weinstein assaulted Young and raped a different woman on back-to-back nights in February 2013.
Young is following three days of often-intense testimony from the key accuser. She testified she attended parties with Weinstein and also had sexual encounters during Oscar week in 2013 before he allegedly raped her in New York about a month later.
The Associated Press typically does not publish the names of people alleging sexual assault unless they give their consent. The AP is withholding the name of the woman alleging the March 2013 rape because it isn’t clear if she wishes to be identified publicly.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors heard from a former front desk manager who checked Weinstein into a midtown Manhattan hotel where one of the key accusers said he raped her in March 2013. The testimony was meant to corroborate her claim that the defendant bullied his way into the hotel over her objections.
“Usually couples checking in are in a happy mood,” Rothschild Capulong told the jury, adding he was so concerned about Weinstein’s behaviour that he made a note in his end-of-shift report that security might want to check on his room.