Miriam Haley testified at court today that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her and performed oral sex on her.
Miriam ‘Mimi’ Haley, née Haleyi, was a production assistant on ‘Project Runway.’
She first met Harvey Weinstein in 2004 at an after party for The Aviator and then bumped into him again in Cannes.
Miriam Haley told the court she asked him about working for one of his productions in New York and that’s how she ended up at Project Runway. Nothing wrong with that. It happens in industries all over the world.
Miriam sobbed as she gave graphic testimony about what happened that night at the disgraced producer’s New York City apartment in 2006.
She told the court that Harvey Weinstein had been persistent in pursuing her. He had previously asked for a massage and for her to join him on various trips including Paris and LA. He would call her a lot and she would politely decline the invitations. However, Miriam did agree to meet him in New York and he sent his driver to pick her up and take her to his apartment on July 10 2006.
Miriam said they were sat on a couch and he lunged at her. She told him no but he pulled her into the bedroom. She continued through sobs:
Miriam described in detail how Harvey Weinstein held her down by the force of his weight on a bed while he put his mouth on her vagina. Those in court found it hard at times to hear her testimony as she was crying so loudly:
“He held me down on the bed. And he forced himself on me orally. I was on my period. I had a tampon in there. I was mortified,” she said. Physically I was trying to get away until I figured it was pointless and I was just squirming and I checked out basically.”
Miriam said that she was mortified and didn’t know what to do or say. She told the court that she did not have a valid visa, and this was one of the reasons she didn’t report the sexual assault to the police or tell anyone about what happened, she said.
Miriam testified Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her again after persuading her to meet him at Tribeca Grand Hotel. As soon as she arrived, he pushed her onto the bed and forced himself upon her, raping her. Miriam said she did not blame herself the first time, but did the second time.
Damon Cheronis, from the defence team, spent two and a half hours questioning Miriam. Cheronis used her own emails and calendar entries to try to undermine and discredit her account. Her said that she treated Weinstein with respect and even fondness. He accused her of wanting Harvey Weinstein to help her agree. Miriam answered that, yes, she wanted a job.
Cheronis questioned her about why she went public with her allegations and chose lawyer, Gloria Allred, over telling the police. He made a lot of this even though she had explained her visa situation.
Prosecutor Meghan Hast asked her in her indirect why she took part in the press conference and she said that she ‘was interested in helping anyone else who might have had this experience.’
The defence filed a motion for a mistrial today unhappy that Lance Mareov and Rosie Perez testified at court and that Dr Barbara Ziv exceeded her expertise. They also took exception to Prosecutor Meghan Hast outlining, in her opening, that both victims in this case had suffered abuse in their childhood.
My Two Cents: This is the third motion filed by the defence for a mistrial. The previous motions were denied. The defence’s D game has a faint whiff of desperation and there will undoubtedly be more motions filed creating a record for appeal.
The fact that both victims had suffered abuse previously is sad yet not surprising. Predators are able to hone in on vulnerabilities – not you, not you, not you, but you. And, yes, victims can be re-victimised by the same abuser and by others. This is not uncommon.
If you have suffered any form of abuse, please speak to someone and work through it with a trauma informed specialist. You may be able to put it in a box for a time, but boxes don’t remain closed forever. It will come back to you. Please put your needs, health and safety first.