Annabella Sciorra took the witness stand in a New York courtroom on Thursday to testify that Harvey Weinstein raped her, becoming the first accuser to testify in Weinstein’s long-awaited sex crimes trial. Sciorra, an actress best known for her role on The Sopranos, described the alleged attack in substantial and graphic detail, saying Weinstein sexually assaulted her in her apartment in late 1993 or early 1994. (Weinstein has denied all allegations of sexual assault against him).
According to The New York Times and other outlets, Sciorra fought back tears as she said Weinstein pushed his way into her apartment after dropping her off there at about 10 p.m. He overpowered her, leading her into a bedroom and forcing her onto the bed, she said.
“As I was trying to get him off of me — I was punching him, I was kicking him — and he took my hands and put them over my head… and he got on top of me and he raped me,” Sciorra said. She testified that Weinstein then pulled out and ejaculated on her leg and nightgown, saying, “I have perfect timing.” She said he then performed oral sex on her, saying “This is for you.”
At that point, Sciorra said, “My body shut down. It was just so disgusting that my body started to shake in a way that was very unusual. I didn’t even really know what was happening. It was like a seizure or something… I woke up, but I’m not sure if I fainted, blacked out or fell asleep.”
She said that she ran into Weinstein at a restaurant several weeks later, where she confronted him about the assault. His response, Sciorra said, was, “This remains between you and I.”
“It was very menacing,” she said. “His eyes went black — I thought he was going to hit me right there.”
Per The New York Times, Sciorra said on the stand that Weinstein continued harassing her after that. In 1997, she was at the Cannes Film Festival to promote the film Cop Land. She said she was awoken at 5 a.m. one morning to find Weinstein outside her hotel room, “in his underwear with a bottle of baby oil in one hand and a video tape in the other.” She recalled that he left after she “pressed all of the call buttons” on the phone and “people came.” Before the rape allegedly took place, she said, Weinstein had sent her “inappropriate” gifts, such as a box of chocolate penises and a package of popcorn and Valium.
Sciorra testified that she did not report the incident to the police because she was “confused” and “afraid,” saying “at the time,” she “didn’t understand that was rape.” “He was someone I knew,” she said. “I felt at the time that rape was something that happened in a back alleyway in a dark place.”
“I did not want to talk about what happened,” Sciorra added. “I disappeared. I began to drink a lot. I began to cut myself.” She finally came forward with her allegations in 2017 as part of The New Yorker‘s exposé on Weinstein.
During cross-examination, Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno pressed Sciorra on her account, noting that the actress could not recall the exact date of the alleged rape. Rotunno also asked the witness why she did not flee the apartment. “He was too big,” Sciorra answered.
Sciorra said she “pretended it never happened because I wanted to get back to my life… I resumed my life to the best of my ability.”
Under New York law, too much time has passed since Sciorra’s alleged assault for it to be charged as rape. However, the prosecution called the actress to testify to help establish a pattern of behavior. Weinstein is charged with rape and criminal sexual act based on the accounts of two accusers, and could face a life sentence in prison if convicted. He also faces rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to all charges.