When Jane Doe #1 spoke at Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles rape trial last week, she testified that she was forced to report her assault when her teenage daughter convinced her to speak up.
Jane Doe #1 – who was the first witness to testify in the sprawling trial – alleged Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex on him and then raped her in 2013 while she visited Los Angeles on a trip business for the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival. Jane Doe #1 is a European model and actor who was based in Italy at the time she claimed Weinstein assaulted her. During her testimony, she said Weinstein, who was essentially a stranger at the time of the 2013 incident, showed up at her hotel room unannounced, forced his way into her room , then sexually assaulted her. “He forced me to do what he asked,” she testified. “I was crying.”
During her moving three-day testimony, Jane Doe #1 said that when she was back at the same film festival a few years later in 2017, she spotted Weinstein at an event. She had brought her then-teenage daughter to accompany her to Los Angeles to attend the festival, and her daughter noticed that her mother’s behavior had suddenly changed when Weinstein was there. Knowing nothing of her mother’s alleged abuse, she didn’t put the pieces together, but later Jane Doe #1 told her daughter that she had been sexually abused in the past.
Another layer of the story is that Jane Doe #1’s daughter had also been sexually assaulted at school. When the daughter told her mother what happened to her, Jane Doe #1 confessed that she was also raped, so she could understand what her daughter was going through. The mother and daughter bonded over their shared trauma and made a pact with each other that they would both report their separate incidents to the police.
About a week after Jane Doe #1 testified, her daughter – whom the court identifies as “Maria C.” in order to protect her identity — was called upon by the prosecution to corroborate her mother’s account.
“All of a sudden during the conversation my mum got very nervous and I noticed she was starting to look in one direction only in the room. After a few moments she kept saying ‘let’s go upstairs’ “Let’s go, let’s go,” Maria testified, recalling the night her mother met Weinstein at the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival in 2017. She said she noticed that in the direction where her mother stared “there was this man sitting and staring straight at my mother and me without looking away. She confirmed the man was Weinstein, and at the time she had no idea who who he was.
Maria shared that Weinstein approached the table she was sitting at with her mother during a festival dinner. “I noticed again that my mother looked very, very nervous, but this time she didn’t want to leave. This time it was fear,” she said. “She froze, she froze in the moment…And just stared into space.”
Asked by prosecutor Deputy DA Paul Thompson why that moment stuck in her mind, Maria said, “I remember that event particularly well because that same year, in the early fall, my mother told me that she had been raped by this man.”
The conversation in which Jane Doe told her daughter she had been raped took place a few months after she met Weinstein at the Italia festival in 2017. Maria said her mother did not disclose the identity of her alleged abuser to her daughter at first, but later finally told her daughter it was Weinstein.
“I was made aware of the identity of the man who raped her at the beginning of the first articles of the #MeToo movement,” Maria told the jury. She said when her mother revealed it was Weinstein she googled him and when she saw his photo online she realized he was the man her mother had spotted and seemed scared at the festival.
When Maria was cross-examined by Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson, he pushed his timeline of events, questioning whether she had changed any details from her first interviews with detectives in the case in 2018, such as how many time Weinstein had watched his mother, how she knew Weinstein was watching his mother, and when his mother revealed Weinstein was her abuser. “Your story is changing,” Jackson said. “That’s not what you said in 2018.”
“My testimony is the truth,” Maria said on the stand. “I never changed my story.”
Jackson asked Maria to report her own sexual assault to police in September 2017 and questioned why her mother hadn’t told authorities about her alleged rape at the same time when they were at the police station. (Maria had reported her incident before the #MeToo movement exploded with the Weinstein revelations in October 2017, but her mother didn’t report her incident until shortly after these articles were published.)
In tears, Maria said: ‘I had the courage to speak out only because my mum promised me ‘she would go to the police over her alleged assault, which she finally did in October 2017 , about four and a half years after Weinstein allegedly raped her.
“It’s safe to say you’re extremely close,” Jackson asked Maria about his relationship with his mother. “Do you like him very, very much?” Weinstein’s attorney asked.
“Would you do anything for her?” Jackson asked Maria, who said “yes,” before her testimony was over.
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