Claudia Salinas testifies in Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial
A social media influencer and former acquaintance of Harvey Weinstein testified Wednesday that a woman’s account of an alleged 2013 Weinstein assault is false. She spoke out amid a legal debate over the admissibility of her own alleged meeting with the now-disgraced film producer.
Claudia Salinas said she had never entered a hotel bathroom with Weinstein or the woman identified in his Los Angeles criminal case as Jane Doe 2. She also replied “absolutely not” when asked by Weinstein’s lawyer if she had ever “standed outside a bathroom while Mr. Weinstein was raping…someone inside?”
“Were you recruiting women that Mr. Weinstein would have sex with? Marc Werksman asked.
“Absolutely not,” Salinas replied.
“Did you act as a pimp for Mr. Weinstein?” Werksman asked.
“No,” Salinas replied with a light laugh.
The testimony contradicts Jane Doe 2’s testimony that Salinas helped set up a meeting at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills in February 2013 that ended with Weinstein groping Jane Doe 2 while masturbating in a bathroom.
Salinas acknowledged meeting Jane Doe 2 and Weinstein for drinks in the Montage Lobby, but said she did not arrange the meeting and never spoke with Jane Doe 2 about the scriptwriting or of his ability to get Weinstein to look at a script.
Jane Doe 2 testified that she felt betrayed by Salinas after the assault, so much so that she told him, “Don’t even fucking look at me” in a meeting the next day. But Salinas said Wednesday that never happened. Werksman posted an email between Weinstein and Salinas, in which Salinas said Jane Doe 2 had a modeling job until 8 p.m. but was free later. When asked how she would know, Salinas replied that they were obviously talking though Jane Doe 2 now claims to have told Salinas not to look at her.
“We kept talking after that day,” Salinas said Wednesday.
Salinas and Jane Doe 2 both testified at Weinstein’s trial in New York, which ended in January 2020 with convictions of first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape that the state’s highest court ruled. agreed in August to review.
The 70-year-old former Hollywood powerhouse is currently housed in Los Angeles for his 23-year sentence in New York, with charges in Los Angeles County carrying much longer if convicted. Prosecutors initially announced 11 counts involving five women, but the fifth woman was not mentioned in opening statements and appears to have been withdrawn as a prosecution witness.
Salinas said The daily beast that the Jane Doe 2 accusations against Weinstein are “fiction”. Outside the jury, prosecutors have raised questions about her credibility as a neutral witness given a Weinstein accuser’s claim that she once saw Salinas perform oral sex on Weinstein.
According to discussions outside the jury, a prior bad deeds witness said he saw a blowjob between Salinas and Weinstein and turned down a threesome offer.
Prosecutors wanted to talk about it at trial, with Werksman telling the Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Lisa B. Lench at a pre-trial conference on October 14, “This is an unconscionable smear campaign by the prosecution against the witness, Claudia Salinas.”
But the witness to the prior bad deeds was allowed to testify about it at Weinstein’s trial in New York, and prosecutors wanted to bring him into their trial to contradict Salinas’ claims that her relationship with Weinstein was professional. Lench said Oct. 14 that she wanted to hear testimony from Salinas before deciding, then stressed Wednesday that it would not be allowed.
Salinas is the second Weinstein associate to be involved in testimony about an alleged assault by Weinstein, with a prior bad deeds witness describing how the aide bonnie hung basically groomed her to be assaulted in Puerto Rico during the 2003 filming Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.
Hung testified last week, denying any memory of meeting the woman or anything related to the alleged assault. Assistant District Attorney Paul ThompsonSalinas’ examination of Salinas was much more aggressive, as Salinas denied the events depicted in Jane Doe 2 and took on a combative tone at times.
“I have no memory of meeting her in Puerto Rico,” Bonnie Hung said today.
“I don’t remember going to the hotel.”
Thanks to her, she said during further questioning: “It is possible. I just don’t remember.
— Meghann Cuniff (@meghanncuniff) November 5, 2022
Salinas was never Weinstein’s official assistant, instead testifying that she met Weinstein in New York in 2003 while dining at the upscale Italian restaurant Cipriani with her mother, who knew someone at her table. She was in Puerto Rico for Dirty Dancing Havana Nights — she’s in two scenes in the movie — but she said she never left a dinner date with him, as the previous bad deeds witness said. And she said she didn’t recognize a picture of the woman.
Born and raised in Mexico, Salinas moved to New York in 2003 at the age of 19 and attended the Lee Strasberg Theater & Film Institute as a professional ballerina. She was in three films produced by Weinstein’s companies, and she said she regularly attended film premieres, parties and awards shows such as the Oscars and Emmys.
Salinas said he was the most powerful person she had known in the entertainment industry in 2003, but she described him as “one of the most” in 2012 and replied, “I don’t know. no, I know a lot of people” when Thompson pressed her. Thompson asked if she was credited on social media for photos at parties, but she said she didn’t become a social media influencer until around 2016.
She testified that Weinstein invited her to meet for drinks when he was in the Los Angeles area in February 2013, so she took Jane Doe 3 with her because “I always bring someone with me. me, because I don’t like to go alone.” The two were friends on and off Facebook, with Salinas describing Jane Doe 2 Wednesday as “a nice girl I met, thought it would be a nice gesture to reconnect.”
Thompson pressed Salinas with an email between her, Jane Doe 2 and Barbara Schweweiswho ran the Weinstein Co. Salinas reality TV show acknowledged that there appears to have been a meeting, but said she did not recall it.
“I’m not asking you this sarcastically, is there something wrong with your memory?” Thompson asked.
“No, there’s nothing wrong with my memory,” Salinas replied.
“Was it common for you to meet the management staff of Weinstein Co.? Thompson asked.
“I have a lot of meetings,” Salinas replied.
Salinas finally admitted to being asked to bring Jane Doe 2 as her “plus one” to a Weinstein party, which was also said to be “strange.” Still, she said, “I don’t remember going with Jane Doe 2 to that party.”
Thompson posted other emails about possible meetings between Weinstein and Jane Doe 2, with Salinas saying she “didn’t find it unusual” for Weinstein to contact her to meet a woman in her early 20s.
“I really didn’t make much of it,” Salinas replied.
On the other hand, Salinas agreed with Werksman that although Weinstein was in his “middle years”, it was not uncommon for him to meet young women given his work in film casting.
After her testimony, Salinas and her lawyer went down the hall and watched several minutes of the actress’ testimony Tricia Vesseya former accuser of evil deeds in That 70s show actor Danny Mastersonthe rape trial.
His appearance at Weinstein’s trial was followed by recorded video testimony from Pascal Vicedominiwho founded the LA Italia Film Festival.
Weinstein was in the Los Angeles area for the festival in February 2013 when he is accused of assaulting both Jane Doe 2 and Jane Doe 1, but Vicedomini disputed Jane Doe 1’s testimony that she told him Weinstein left his jacket in his hotel room. He also said she never gave him the jacket. He described his relationship with her in 2013 as “a very great friendship” and told Weinstein’s attorney, Alan Jackson, that he would never offer her to Weinstein for sexual favors.
“I would never do or say anything of this nature in my life. I had a relationship with Mr. Weinstein for many years…and at no time in my life would I have said or thought anything like that” , did he declare.
The roughly three-hour video ended Thursday morning, with the trial not taking place Thursday afternoon. It will resume Monday at 9:30 a.m. in Los Angeles, with accuser Jane Doe 4, who is governor of California. Gavin Newsomhis wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsomshould take position at the beginning of the week.
Actor Mel Gibson is also expected to testify later in the week as a witness in support of Jane Doe 3who is a masseuse for Hollywood stars.
(Images: Salinas photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images; Weinstein photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)
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