Weinstein accuser breaks down over ‘father issues’ email
A woman who says she was raped by Harvey Weinstein left court sobbing uncontrollably after breaking down during questioning.
Jessica Mann, 34, was overcome as she read an email in which she described the former Hollywood producer as a “pseudo father” figure after the alleged attack.
She began crying as she read the 2014 message aloud under cross-examination by one of Weinstein’s lawyers, Donna Rotunno.
Ms Mann was still crying after a short break, prompting the judge to adjourn the trial for the day.
She testified on Friday that the Hollywood film producer raped her in a Manhattan hotel room in March 2013 and described her relationship with him as “extremely degrading”.
She said the relationship had continued to form for some years afterwards.
Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to raping Ms Mann and to sexually assaulting another woman, Mimi Haleyi.
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He faces life in prison if found guilty of predatory sexual assault – the most serious charge.
Ms Mann’s email – written to an actor she was dating at the time – revealed she was working through “father issues” when she was with Weinstein.
“Harvey was my father’s age and he gave me all the validation I needed,” she wrote.
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The former actress is expected to be cross-examined further on Tuesday.
During Monday’s court session, Weinstein’s lawyer repeatedly suggested that Ms Mann had willingly had sex with the film producer to advance her career.
At one point she asked if Ms Mann “manipulated” Weinstein when she sent him friendly messages and asked to see him, even though she was not attracted to him.
Ms Mann replied: “How I handled it to survive and process it, yeah, I guess you could say manipulation.”
Ms Rotunno also showed Ms Mann friendly emails she sent Weinstein after the alleged rape, including one in which she gave him her new contact information and said she would be “happy to see your smile”.
Ms Mann said she sent Weinstein flattering messages to avoid making him angry and show she was “not a threat”.
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct and the trial is widely seen as a milestone in the #MeToo movement.
Weinstein has insisted any sexual activity was consensual.
Ms Mann previously told the court she met Weinstein at a party after she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
The producer behind such Oscar-winning films as Shakespeare In Love and Pulp Fiction offered to help her, she said, asking her to meet him at a bookstore to learn about movie business history.