“I was mortified. I was in disbelief and disgusted.”
– Harvey Weinstein accuser Mimi Haleyi
| NEW YORK (AP) — By her own account, Mimi Haleyi once rebuffed one of Harvey Weinstein’s relentless advances by telling him, “I hear you have a terrible reputation with women.”
Haleyi says she didn’t know just how terrible the then-revered Hollywood honcho could be until he sexually assaulted her in his New York City apartment in 2006 — an episode she’s expected to detail as a witness Monday at Weinstein’s rape trial.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on the former production assistant and raping another woman, an aspiring actress, in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013.
He insists any sexual encounters were consensual.
Haleyi, whose legal name is Miriam Haley, will be the first of the two women whose accusations are at the heart of the charges against Weinstein to take the stand at the closely watched #MeToo-era trial, which is entering its fourth day of testimony.
Last week, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testified that Weinstein overpowered and raped her after barging into her apartment in the mid-1990s.
While outside the statute of limitations for criminal charges, Sciorra’s allegations could be a factor as prosecutors look to prove Weinstein has engaged in a pattern of predatory behavior.
Haleyi went public with her allegations at an October 2017 news conference, appearing in front of cameras alongside lawyer Gloria Allred, who also represents Sciorra and other Weinstein accusers.
Haleyi, born in England and raised in Sweden, said she met Weinstein while in her 20s at the 2004 London premiere of the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Aviator.”
They crossed paths again at the Cannes Film Festival in 2006 and, when she expressed interest in working on one of his productions, he invited her to his hotel room and asked for a massage.
Haleyi said she refused, replying, “No sorry, I’m not a masseuse.”
“Weinstein pushed her onto a bed and forced his mouth onto her … “
More meetings followed, and Weinstein secured Haleyi a job helping on the set of “Project Runway,” the reality competition show he produced. Later, she said, he invited her to attend a fashion show in Paris, but she declined by bringing up his sketchy reputation.
The alleged assault occurred at Weinstein’s Soho apartment after he sent a car to pick Haleyi up for what she thought was a friendly meeting about her career.
Instead, she said, Weinstein pushed her onto a bed and forced his mouth onto her genitals. She said she tried to get him to stop, even telling him she was menstruating, but he wouldn’t relent.
“I was mortified. I was in disbelief and disgusted,” she said.
In opening statements, prosecutor Meghan Hast said there was a subsequent hotel room encounter that Haleyi didn’t reveal in 2017. Hast said that though Haleyi didn’t want to have intercourse with Weinstein, she kept still and “let him degrade her.”
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault, unless they agree to be named as Haleyi and Sciorra have.
In testifying, Haleyi will have to deal with a defense team that said it plans to confront Weinstein’s accusers with their own words — messages they exchanged with Weinstein well after the alleged assaults.
Weinstein’s lawyers argue the positive-sounding emails and texts call into question the accusers’ accounts.
Some of Haleyi’s messages were made public last year when Weinstein’s lawyers sought to get his case dismissed.
One sent to Weinstein’s phone in 2007 reads:
“Hi! Just wondering if u have any news on whether Harvey will have time to see me before he leaves? X Miriam.”