News World Harvey Weinstein accuser excused from court after panic attack

Harvey Weinstein accuser excused from court after panic attack

Jessica Mann, centre, alleges disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein raped and sexually assaulted her. Photo: Getty
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A key witness in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial has been let off the stand after she said she was having a panic attack during cross-examination.

Jessica Mann was questioned for five hours on Monday by Weinstein’s lawyer Donna Rotunno, before the judge cut Ms Mann’s testimony short.

Ms Mann walked off the stand wiping away tears. Shortly after, lead prosecutor Joan Illuzzi from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office followed her into the witness room.

Ms Mann alleges the former movie producer raped and sexually assaulted her on numerous occasions.

Ms Mann is expected to return on Tuesday to be questioned again by Rotunno.

No other witness throughout the trial has been on the stand for longer than six hours, contained in one single day.

Last Friday, Ms Mann was crying uncontrollably after her testimony was cut short by Justice James Burke with Ms Illuzzi assisting off the stand.

Before Justice Burke dismissed court earlier than planned Monday afternoon, Ms Mann asked for a quick break earlier in the day, stating that she was “a little foggy” and wanted to collect herself.

Throughout the gruelling cross-examination on Monday, Ms Mann had trouble nailing down an exact timeline for the specific events, which Ms Rotunno pressed her on repeatedly, noting the importance of the dates and times of the alleged sexual assaults.

On a number of occasions throughout questioning (when it’s protocol for witnesses to give a yes-or-no answer), Ms Mann wanted to give a longer explanation telling Ms Rotunno “we have not talked about why”.

Ms Mann testified that Weinstein violently sexually abused and raped her on multiple occasions.

Her testimony provided insight into Weinstein’s alleged interest in degrading sexual acts, including giving her a “golden shower,” talking “dirty” about his fantasies, comparing her to other “kinky” actresses and repeatedly asking to film her during sex.

Three of the five charges against Weinstein stem from Ms Mann’s allegations – two counts of rape and one count of predatory sexual assault.

-with AAP