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Masseuse Who Accused Harvey Weinstein of Sexual Assault Denies Changing Story to Fit Prosecutors’ Case

Three photos showing Harvey Weinstein and his suited and tied lawyers

Harvey Weinstein and his lawyers, Alan Jackson (left) and Mark Werksman (right)
(Jackson and Werksman photos by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images; Weinstein photo by Etienne Laurent-Pool/Getty Images)

A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein questioned a masseuse Thursday and Friday about her shifting accounts of what exactly happened between her and the now-disgraced movie mogul, asking if she eventually said he’d touched her breasts because she realized skin-to-skin contact is an essential criminal element of sexual battery.

Jane Doe 3‘s initial answer to whether Weinstein touched her under her clothing “was crystal clear,” Mark Werksman said.

“You said, ‘Skin to skin? No, he did not,” Werksman said.

“I was embarrassed to answer it,” Jane Doe 3 said.

But in a second interview with prosecutors in March 2020, a prosecutor asked, “Is there anything you remember that’s different or new?” and the woman replied, “I’m about 95 percent positive that he did grab my breast under my shirt.”

Jane Doe 3 said on the witness stand that she’d gone through an “emotional intelligence” workshop that helped her remember details she’d suppressed.

Werksman asked if her being 95 percent positive means “that you are 5 percent sure that he didn’t?”

“Not anymore,” she answered.

“Today you are 100 percent positive?” Werksman asked.

“Yes,” the woman answered.

The questions were part of a cross-examination by Werksman that extended through Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning, focusing first on the woman’s changing accounts of what happened before moving into emails between the woman and Weinstein in which she accepted invitations to events for movies such as The Artist, a Weinstein film that won 10 Oscars in 2012, including for best picture and best actor. He also pressed her about her hopes for a coffee table book called “Naked Massage,” repeatedly asking if she’d cut a deal with Weinstein that he would help her with the book in exchange for their sexual encounters.

It may have been the defense’s most effective showing yet, with some jurors looking visibility skeptical at the woman as Werksman implied she’d put up with Weinstein’s behavior in exchange for his support and access, which she repeatedly denied. At one point Werksman said to her, “Your story is like the U.S. economy: There was inflation” and Judge Lisa B. Lench sustained an objection from Los Angeles County District Attorney Marlene Martinez, who said the comment was argumentative.

Testimony from the woman, a licensed massage therapist, is to be supported by testimony from actor Mel Gibson. Jane Doe 3 said she considers Gibson “more of a friend than a client,” and she confided to him about Weinstein sexually assaulting her after Gibson mentioned Weinstein during a massage.

The woman said early in testimony: “Yes, my memory was foggy then, but I remember everything now.”

“The more I spoke about it, the more I recalled the trauma that happened to me. I was blocking it out for so long,” she said.

Werksman read from a transcript of an interview the woman did with ABC News 20/20 in which she said, “I honestly think I have blocked out every memory I have of this guy.” But the woman said her memory has improved in the last three years. Werksman also highlighted that the woman had said in her 20/20 interview that Weinstein was standing up naked when she walked into the room for the massage, and she asked him, “Are you ready?”

The woman said at that point, Weinstein hadn’t made her feel unsafe. But Werksman focused on why she didn’t mention that to the grand jury that indicted Weinstein, or in her direct trial testimony.

“But you changed that testimony before the grand jury and before this jury to make your conduct as a professional masseuse seem less questionable didn’t you?” Werksman asked.

The woman answered that Weinstein hadn’t been taunting her. Werksman asked her about her saying Weinstein had been touching “on and around” her chest, and the woman said she had conflated separate incidents with Weinstein.

“The last time was underneath my clothing,” she said.

“Did anybody say that without skin to skin contact we can’t prosecute him for sexual battery?”  Werskman asked.

“No,” she answered.

“Did anybody tell you before your next interview that you’ve got to get this one right?” Werksman asked.

“No,” she answered.

Werksman also focused on the woman’s apparent willingness to see Weinstein and stay with him even when she could leave, including while she was watching him shower.

Jane Doe 3 said angrily, “I was paralyzed. I was shocked.” She paused then said indignantly, “I just got sexually assaulted.” She began to cry heavily, so Judge Lench called a 15-minute break. When trial resumed, Werksman asked about her plans for the “Naked Massage” coffee table book and Weinstein’s interest. She has previously said that Weinstein told her, “I’m going to take care of you, you know, because you just took care of me.”

Werksman asked if she gave Weinstein her home address so he could mail her books.

“Yes. He demanded it after he sexually assaulted me,” Jane Doe 3 answered. But she also said, “I was intrigued that he was interested in having me write a book.”

Werksman displayed emails from a woman named Lola who worked for Weinstein’s publishing company Miramax Books and from Barbara Schneeweiss, who the woman previously testified led her to and from Weinstein’s room during one of their four encounters, the first being in 2010. When Schneeweiss asked her how the first massage had gone, Werksman said, “You could have said ‘your boss just ejaculated on my shoes.’ But you didn’t.”

“I was scared,” the woman answered.

Werksman pressed about the friendly, breezy tone of the emails.

“You and Lola are rockin’ on this Naked Massage book, right?” he asked.

“We’re not rocking,” the woman answered.

“Would you agree that you were an enthusiastic participant?” Werksman asked.

“Yes, I was enthusiastic to see how they were actually going to do this,” the woman answered.

Werksman later pressed her about whether she’d allowed Weinstein to masturbate in front of her in exchange for help with her book idea.

“You pursued a book deal because that was your end of a bargain for having sexual relations with Mr. Weinstein, correct?” Werksman asked.

“Incorrect,” the woman answered.

The fourth and final encounter between the woman and Weinstein occurred after she met with him at The Peninsula hotel restaurant in Beverly Hills with Sean Lourdes, a book publisher for whom she was a personal assistant. He continued to press her about her plans for the “Naked Massage” book, at one point maligning coffee table books by saying none read them. Jane Doe 3 said “some do” and Werksman replied that the books are purely decorative before Judge Lench sustained an argumentative objection from DA Martinez.

The woman said in her direct testimony that she felt safe meeting with Weinstein because Lourdes was with her, but she eventually agreed to go upstairs to Weinstein’s room as Lourdes waited downstairs. When they were inside Weinstein’s room, he again masturbated in front of her while commanding her to look at him and compliment his penis size.

Werksman asked about her willingness to introduce Lourdes to Weinstein, saying, “You bragged to him that you knew Harvey Weinstein.”

“What do you consider bragging? I told him I knew Harvey Weinstein,” the woman answered.

Werksman said Weinstein meeting with Lourdes was a transactional exchange related to his sexual encounters with her, but the woman said she wasn’t OK with it.

“I didn’t think I was ever going to be alone with him,” she said. Asked why she didn’t tell Lourdes that she won’t go upstairs with Weinstein, the woman said “I was still embarrassed. It was humiliating.”

“You knew that there was going to be some kind of sexual encounter, true?” Werksman asked.

“I knew something was going to happen like he was going to masturbate in front of me,” the woman said. She began to cry, saying loudly, “I was scared and I was embarrassed and humiliated.”

“Nevertheless, no one forced you to leave the restaurant at the Peninsula and go upstairs with Mr. Weinstein?” Werksman said.

“My ego forced me to,” the woman answered.

The woman finished testifying Friday about noon. Weinstein’s former personal assistants Liz Perz and Bonnie Hung testified Friday afternoon, with Hung saying she does not remember every meeting the woman who testified last week that Hung had basically set her up to be sexually assaulted by Weinstein while they were in Puerto Rico for the filming of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights.

Jane Doe 2 began testifying at the end of Friday and will continue Monday. She testified in Weinstein’s New York trial as a prior bad acts witness and is represented by attorney Gloria Allred.

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A graduate of the University of Oregon, Meghann worked at The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, and the Idaho Statesman in Boise, Idaho, before moving to California in 2013 to work at the Orange County Register. She spent four years as a litigation reporter for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and one year as a California-based editor and reporter for and associated publications such as The National Law Journal and New York Law Journal before joining Law & Crime News. Meghann has written for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, Bloomberg Law, ABA Journal, The Forward, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Laguna Beach Independent. Her Twitter coverage of federal court hearings in a lawsuit over homelessness in Los Angeles placed 1st in the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Awards for Best Use of Social Media by an Independent Journalist in 2021. An article she freelanced for Los Angeles Times Community News about a debate among federal judges regarding the safety of jury trials during COVID also placed 1st in the Orange County Press Club Awards for Best Pandemic News Story in 2021.