Woman says Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1991 and 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A woman testified Monday that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during the 1991 Toronto Film Festival and then did it again when she confronted him at the same hotel during the same festival 17 years later.

Kelly Sifferd told a jury in Los Angeles that she was a 24-year-old aspiring actor at the 1991 festival and didn’t know who Weinstein was before meeting him at a party. She said her friends there were buzzing about the man whose Miramax company was at the forefront of independent filmmaking and made his mark on the Academy Awards.

Siferd said she was initially charmed by Weinstein when they discussed books and movies.

“We got along really well,” she said. “He was very smart. We had a wonderful conversation.”

The Associated Press typically does not release the names of people who say they were sexually assaulted, but Siferd agreed Monday to release the names through her attorney.

She said the two of them left the party for a glass of wine at a nearby cafe, then went with him to his room at the Four Seasons Hotel because he said he had a script for a movie with a role that would be perfect for her.

Once there, he went into the bathroom and came out with only his shirt open and a hot washcloth, Siferd testified.

“Everything happened very, very quickly,” she said. “I was shocked. It was so unexpected.”

She said he pulled down her skirt, put a washcloth on her and said “my wife loves it”.

She revealed she felt “nauseated, scared and terrified” and repeatedly told him to stop and asked “what are you doing?”

She said he held her down and raped her with his mouth and hand. He then climbed on top of her and started raping her, but she was able to slip away and leave the room.

Sifferd testified that Weinstein called her home repeatedly over the following weeks, and she often hung up, but eventually spoke to him.

“The meeting you’re describing sounds horrible,” Jackson’s attorney, Alan Jackson, told Sifferd under cross-examination, saying Weinstein seemed like someone to avoid at all costs. “But you didn’t go the other way and cross the street and spit on him, you actually took his phone calls.”

In the end, Sifferd accepted his offer to come to New York and talk to the woman who was casting for him, but took a friend with plans to keep her around permanently.

“Did your abuser try to convince you to go with him to New York?” he asked. Sifferd replied, “Yes.”

In New York, she said Weinstein called her hotel room from the lobby and told her to get rid of her friend and he would come over. She refused and left New York without ever seeing him or the casting agent.

Weinstein, 70, who is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of raping and sexually assaulting five women in Los Angeles and denies engaging in nonconsensual sex.

He is not charged in the alleged assaults described in Monday’s testimony. Sifferd, along with three others, has been allowed to testify so prosecutors can try to show Weinstein’s propensity for the crimes he’s accused of.

Sifferd revealed that she did not see Weinstein until 2008, when she was 41 and temporarily living at the Four Seasons with her husband and children. She bumped into Weinstein in the lobby during that year’s festival.

“My blood kind of stopped,” she said. “I was very angry.”

When Weinstein’s assistant came to her room to say he wanted to meet with her, she agreed.

“I wanted to stand up to him,” she said. “I felt like I was ready to give it to him.”

Once in his room, she remembered asking, “How does it feel to have one woman say no to you?”

Weinstein then ushered his aide out of the room and quickly directed Sifferd to the door. She said before she knew it, she was in a locked bathroom with Weinstein, where he was blocking her exit.

She said Weinstein grabbed her breasts and masturbated in front of her before letting her leave the room.

Jackson said it sounded like Weinstein was “politely escorting” her to the bathroom.

She replied that she did not know that she was being taken to the bathroom.

“Didn’t you see the sink, the dressing table, the mirror?” Jackson asked.

“It was dark,” she answered.

“So you went into the dark room with him?” Jackson said.

Jackson then asked why she didn’t leave or make more of an effort to sound the alarm.

“The second time you were alone with this rapist and you didn’t scream?” he asked.

“I was shocked,” Sifferd said.

Siferd said she didn’t tell anyone about the second attack for years because of the “sheer embarrassment” that it happened again.

“I was shocked,” she said. “So embarrassing, just so embarrassing.”

Her testimony appears to be the first time she has told her story in a public setting.


Follow AP Entertainment writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: twitter.com/andyjamesdalton


For more on the Harvey Weinstein trial, visit: https://apnews.com/hub/harvey-weinstein

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