Rosie Perez backs up Annabella Sciorra's Weinstein rape allegation in court: She told me 'I can't call the police ... He'll destroy my career'

Juliet Papa
January 24, 2020 - 3:05 pm

Actress Rosie Perez arrives for Harvey Weinstein's rape trial, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – Actress Rosie Perez testified Friday at Harvey Weinstein’s trial to back up fellow screen star Annabella Sciorra’s allegation that he raped her in the mid-1990s at her Manhattan apartment. Sciorra testifed in graphic detail about the alleged attack -- she said he pushed his way into her apartment, pinned on a bed and raped her  -- during her testimony Thursday.

Over objections from Weinstein's lawyers, judge James Burke decided Friday to let Perez take the stand. Sciorra told jurors Thursday that Perez, a friend, was one of a few people she told about the encounter before coming forward publicly in 2017.

Prosecutors have said Sciorra told Perez weeks or months later that she thought something bad had happened to her and believed she had been raped.

According to prosecutors, Perez surmised through subsequent conversations that Weinstein was the alleged attacker, and an upset Sciorra told Perez that was true when she asked.

Weinstein's lawyers said Perez shouldn’t be allowed to testify, arguing that her account would be hearsay. Such testimony is sometimes allowed in sexual assault cases if an alleged victim spoke to another person promptly, but the defense said Sciorra’s conversations with Perez don’t qualify.

Perez testified that she spoke to Sciorra the night she was allegedly attacked. She said she called to see if Sciorra wanted to go out  "to a nightclub, have some fun." 

She said Sciorra "was whispering, like she was hiding from someone. I said, 'what's wrong with you?' She said, 'I think something bad happened.'"

Perez asked what happed, and she said Sciorra said, "I think I was raped."  Perez said she asked Sciorra, who was crying, "So you know who did it?" She testified that Sciorra replied, "I can't, I can't -- I woke up on the floor, my nightie was up; it's a family heirloom. I gotta go."   Perez testified that she asked, "Do you want to call the police?"  And Sciorra hung up.  Perez  said she tried calling her several times after that but Sciorra never picked up the phone. 

Perez continued to testify that was several months later that she called Sciorra in London. Perez said she called Sciorra, who "told me that it was in fact Harvey Weinstein who raped her. She told me he showed up at her door, she was confused, why was he standing there. He pushed his way through the door. She was crying,  telling me, 'I tried to fight back, I tried.'

Perez said Sciorra said Weinstein "(ejaculated) on her leg and her night gown. I said, 'Oh, the family heirloom?' She said yes, and she swore me not to tell anybody. I told her she should go to the police  ... She said, 'I can't ... He'll destroy my career.'"  

Earlier Friday, a forensic psychiatrist who testified at Billy Cosby's trial was testifying for prosecutors.

Sex crime expert Dr. Barbara Ziv took the stand Friday morning. She has been qualified as an expert in victim behavior, forensic psychiatry and rape trauma.

Ziv was previously an expert witness for the prosecution in the Cosby trial; Cosby was ultimately convicted on charges he drugged and molested women.

In the courtroom Friday, Ziv used a slideshow to discuss rape myths, including “victims report the assault promptly” and “victims don’t have subsequent contact with the perpetrator.”

She said victims "almost always" go back to their abusers.

"It’s extremely common, in fact it’s the norm," she said.

Ziv said that in 85 percent of the cases, the victim knows the offender and that in only 20 to 40 percent of the cases do the victims scream.

Reactions to sexual assault include, denial, shame and guilt, as well as attempt to “put it behind me” or a descent into self-destructive behaviors like drinking, cutting and drug use.

During cross examination, Ziv said she had not ready anything about the case and had not met any of the witnesses or ready any of the evidence about the case.

Prosecutors hope Ziv’s testimony will shed light on why some of Weinstein’s accusers kept interacting with him for years after their alleged assaults.

Weinstein lawyer Damon Cheronis previously cautioned jurors in his opening that Ziv hasn't actually examined any of Weinstein's accusers. Cheronis zeroed in on a message from one telling Weinstein that she loved him and wanted him to meet her mother.

"Ladies and gentlemen, that's not how you talk to your predator," Cheronis said.

On Friday, Cheronis suggested that Ziv takes positions depending on what side of the fence she's working.

"You didn't talk about rape myths," Cheronis told Ziv when asking about one case.

"I wasn't asked about rape myths," Ziv responded.

Harvey Weinstein at trial
Anthony Behar/Sipa USA

Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcibly performing oral sex on former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his New York apartment in 2006 and raping an aspiring actress in a New York hotel room in 2013.

The producer behind such Oscar-winning movies as “Pulp Fiction” and “Shakespeare in Love” has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.