MANHATTAN (CN) — A woman who was roommates with the former “Project Runway” assistant accusing Harvey Weinstein of rape testified Tuesday that the attack brought the producer’s reputation into stark reality.
“We saw it as more of a pathetic older man trying to get it on with Miriam,” said Elizabeth Entin, called to the stand a day after jurors heard a graphic account from Mimi Haleyi about her alleged Weinstein encounter.
Entin, a former fashion stylist assistant, testified that she used to think Weinstein’s interest in her friend was funny until she found Haleyi pacing outside her bedroom doorway in their Avenue B apartment in the summer of 2006.
Haleyi, visibly distraught, confided that she had gone to Weinstein’s apartment in SoHo for what she understood to be a work-related meeting, Entin said.
At the time, Weinstein’s company Miramax Television produced “Project Runway,” and Haleyi testified Monday that she was attempting to navigate a “professional-slash-social” relationship with the Hollywood honcho.
“I wasn’t interested in him sexually or romantically, but I wanted him to like me,” she testified.
Entin said Haleyi told her the meeting with Weinstein turned quickly into something else: first he started rubbing Haleyi’s shoulders and kissing her, then he “pulled off her underwear … and pulled out her tampon while she was saying stop.”
“I said, ‘Miriam that sounds like rape’,” Entin testified. “I said, ‘Why don’t you call a lawyer?'”
Haleyi, now 42, told the jury Monday about her attempts to deter Weinstein after he cornered her in his bedroom on July 10, 2006, and pushed her down onto the mattress after she fell.
“I did reject him, but he insisted,” Haleyi testified Monday. “Every time I tried to get off the bed, he would push me back and hold me down.
“And then I said, ‘No, no,’ and at that point I started realizing what was actually happening: I’m being raped,” she said.
“He held me down on the bed, and he forced himself on me orally,” she said. “I kept trying to tell him, ‘No, don’t go there, don’t do that. I’m on my period. I’ve got a tampon in.’
“It was as if he didn’t believe me,” Haleyi said. “He literally pulled my tampon out.”
Haleyi’s personal calendar, which was admitted into evidence, shows the date of her alleged attack marked with a “P,” conveying the start of her period.
On cross-examination Monday, Haleyi choked up as she described her fears of total powerlessness. She recalled thinking at the time that, even if she had been able to escape Weinstein’s apartment, that the driver hired to bring her there could have been in on it and would still be waiting outside.
“I felt that there was no way,” Haleyi said through tears Monday, “that I had no chance.”
Some time before this encounter, Haleyi said it was at her East Village apartment that she managed to resist one of Weinstein’s advances. She said he had barged into her apartment demanding that she give him a massage. To shut him down, Haleyi allegedly said: “I hear you have a terrible reputation with women.”
“For some reason, when I said that, he backed off,” Haley testified Monday.
Haleyi said she nevertheless maintained contact with Weinstein because of her professional ambitions.
When she agreed to meet Weinstein in SoHo on July 11, Haleyi said, she was supposed to fly out the next day to California for the premiere of “Clerks 2.”
Weinstein had allegedly invited Haleyi to the event for the comedy produced by his company, and she said she also planned to visit a friend in Los Angeles who was expecting a baby.
After she was raped, Haleyi said Weinstein invited her to meet him another night that July at the Tribeca Grand Hotel.
Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast asked why she had agreed.
“He was very persistent and insistent,” Haleyi said, explaining that she thought their meeting would allow her to regain a sense of power that she lost in the attack.
Haleyi described going to Weinstein’s room: “Almost instantly, he basically just took my hands like that and just pulled me toward the bed.”
“I just went numb,” Haleyi said. “I thought, here we go again.”
On cross-examination by Weinstein’s attorneys, Haleyi said she didn’t consider what happened at the Tribeca Grand an assault because she “didn’t physically resist.”
“He said things like, ‘You’re a whore and a bitch,’” Haleyi remembered. “He thought that would somehow turn me on.”
Entin, Tuesday’s witness, testified that Haleyi became more withdrawn as a roommate after she shared the details of her attack.
“She seemed more nervous, significantly less vital, spent a lot of time in her room,” Entin said.
Pressed by Weinstein’s attorney Donna Rotunno why she hadn’t advised her friend to stop seeing Weinstein, Entin responded: “I didn’t think that was my place, and I certainly thought an older man could contain himself.”
Entin also testified about a day her pet chihuahua Peanut chased Weinstein around her and Haleyi’s apartment.
“He said, ‘What is this thing? Get it away from me,’” Entin recalled.
Weinstein is charged with one count of criminal sexual act and predatory sexual assault involving Haleyi.
He faces a life sentence if convicted of five felony charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree.
Last week, “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra testified that Weinstein overpowered and raped her at her apartment in the early 1990s.
Sciorra’s friend, actress Rosie Perez, was called to corroborate Sciorra’s account of the incident.
Scirorra is one of four witnesses testifying about uncharged events as part the city’s case to show Weinstein’s pattern of prior bad acts.
Since 2017, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
Weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity.