Two new witnesses are expected to take to the stand to testify against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein in New York.
Tarale Wulff has claimed the film producer raped her after she let her guard down by telling herself he was only a “dirty old man”, while Dawn Dunning said he offered movie roles to her in exchange for joining in a threesome with him.
Prosecutors are using the two so-called “Molineux” witnesses to bolster their case against Weinstein.
The judge has allowed them to testify about “prior bad acts” that did not result in criminal charges because of the statute of limitations and other legal issues.
Weinstein, 67, is charged with forcing oral sex on Project Runway production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping another aspiring actress in 2013, who could testify later this week.
He has insisted any sexual encounters were consensual and Weinstein’s lawyers zeroed in on his accusers’ continued contact with him after the alleged assaults.
Ms Wulff met Weinstein in 2005 while working as a cocktail waitress at a members-only lounge at Cipriani’s, one of his favourite Manhattan haunts.
Even after he cornered her in a hallway and started masturbating, Ms Wulff had convinced herself Weinstein “was simply a dirty old man” and decided to take up his offer to read for potential acting roles, prosecutor Meghan Hast said in her opening statement.
After Ms Wulff read, a driver took her to Weinstein’s apartment, Ms Hast said.
There, the much bigger and heavier Weinstein pushed her on to a bed and raped her, the prosecutor said.
Ms Dunning alleges Weinstein fondled her genitals during a business meeting in his hotel suite in 2004 and on another occasion offered her three small movie roles but only if she had three-way sex with him and his assistant.
“Dawn tried to laugh it off, make a joke of it, but the defendant got angry,” Ms Hast said.
“‘This is how the industry works,’ he screamed at her. ‘How do you think other actresses got ahead?’”
Ms Hast said Ms Dunning then fled.