Former ‘Project Runway’ Assistant Breaks Down During Testimony of Graphic Sexual Assault at Harvey Weinstein Trial

Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Harvey Weinstein accuser Miriam Haley broke down in sobs on Monday morning as she gave graphic testimony of being sexually assaulted at the disgraced film mogul’s New York City apartment in 2006.

“He pushed me down. He held me down by my arms,” Haley testified. “I said, ‘No!’ I said, ‘No, no!’ I didn’t know what was actually happening. This is me being raped.”

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Haley, 42, described a chilling scene in Weinstein’s apartment where he held her down by the force of his weight on a bed while he put his mouth on her vagina. At times her testimony was hard to hear because she was crying so hard.

“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.”

Haley, who lives in London, is the second alleged victim of Weinstein to take the stand, following actor Annabella Sciorra last week.

Haley described a professional relationship with Weinstein that developed over a period of months. She rebuffed his request that she give him a massage when she first met him in Cannes in 2006. She said she felt “extremely humiliated” by the request but continued to have encounters with him. He helped her connect with Barbara Schneeweis, an executive on “Project Runway,” a series produced by Weinstein’s now-defunct Weinstein Co., who got Haley a job on the show.

“I just felt very stupid that I had been so excited to go and see him and that he treated me that way,” Haley said of the first meeting. “I was crying. I waited until I left the hotel and then I burst into tears.”

Haley described another meeting with Weinstein at New York’s Mercer Hotel that was “respectful and appropriate.” But he continued to press her for meetings and he tried to get Haley to let him in to her apartment in the East Village. He also pressed her to join him on a trip to Paris, which she declined.

“He kept calling and I kept saying ‘Thanks so much but no,’” Haley said. “He was just very overwhelming and he was just very, very persistent. He was still friendly, but he was almost begging, and just very insistent, and would not accept no.” At one point, in her effort to “shut it down,” Haley told Weinstein that she was aware of his reputation as a womanizer.

“I said ‘You know you have a terrible reputation with women.’ It was a half joke, I was still trying to be friendly, and he got offended by that and he stepped back,” she said. “That’s when he backed off.”

Haley and Weinstein saw each other in Los Angeles, and then back in New York, he asked her to meet at his apartment on July 10, 2006. Initially, his behavior gave her no cause for concern. Suddenly, she said, as the two sat on a couch, he lunged at her to kiss her.

“I got up from the sofa and said, ‘No, no, no’ and I rejected him and pushed him away… and he kept kissing and fondling me,” she said. “And I got up and tried to walk away from him, but he pulled me towards him, and he was sort of walking towards me and I was walking backwards trying to get away and he would just come at me.”

Finally Weinstein began to force her into a bedroom, she said.

“He was pushing me with his body until I got to the bed and then I fell backwards onto the bed,” she said. “I tried to get up and he pushed me down.” Throughout this time, Haley said she made it clear she did not want to have sex with him. “I just said, ‘No, I don’t want this to happen.'”

As the reality of the situation set in, Haley described feeling powerless to report Weinstein’s assault to authorities, in part because she was working in the U.S. without an appropriate via. She had to walk back to her apartment after the assault, Haley told the jury.

“I thought about my options and I decided that going to the police was not an option for me,” she said, because she was afraid of consequences from her via status. “Obviously, Mr. Weinstein has a lot more power and resources and connections and so I didn’t really think I would stand a chance.”

Haley testified that Weinstein sexually assaulted her a second time later that summer, after convincing her to come to the Tribeca Grand Hotel. As soon as she arrived, she said that he pulled her hands back and forced her onto the bed, and had sex with her against her will.

“He said things like, something like, ‘You’re a whore’ and a ‘bitch’ but I think in a way that he thought that would somehow turn me on,” she said. “I was laying there emotionless saying, ‘I’m not a bitch, I’m not a whore.’ I felt numb. I felt like an idiot. And I felt numb.”

The first time, she said, she did not blame herself. But the second time, she did. She did not know how to deal with it. “I just put it away in a box,” she said, and tried to move on.

Haley also sought to explain why she had meetings with Weinstein subsequently, and exchanged emails with him. “I was willing to have a regular, professional connection with him,” she said. The communications continued for a couple of years after the alleged assault.

Haley initially came forward at a press conference with Gloria Allred in October 2017. At the time, her last name was Haleyi. She testified that she did not anticipate how that would affect her Google results, and so she subsequently changed her name to Haley.

In a motion on Monday, Weinstein’s defense sought to bar Haley from testifying about her abusive childhood, saying it was irrelevant and would only prejudice the jury. Haley was allowed to testify, however, that she and her mother suffered domestic abuse at the hands of her stepfather. She said she moved out when she was 17.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Damon Cheronis showed Haley an email she had sent Weinstein two years after the alleged assault. She began by saying, “Great to see you in Cannes,” and then talked about an Addams Family musical project then in development. She signed off, “Lots of love, Miriam.”

He also questioned how Weinstein got into her apartment in the East Village. “He could not have come in unless you opened the door, we agree on that right?” he asked.

The question echoed a line of inquiry from the cross-examination of Sciorra last week. Attorney Donna Rotunno asked her why she had opened the door and allowed Weinstein into her apartment.

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