A key accuser in the New York City rape trial of Harvey Weinstein broke down in tears on the witness stand on Monday during an exhaustive cross-examination over the nature of her relationship with the once-powerful movie mogul, the AP reports. The drama, which prompted the judge to send the jury home about an hour earlier than usual, came after the defense sought to paint the 34-year-old woman as an opportunistic manipulator who took advantage of Weinstein while pursuing an acting career, even after he allegedly raped her. The woman said she "tried to make him my pseudo father" after a rough upbringing. "I wanted him to believe I wasn't a threat," the woman testified. She added, "I was afraid of his unpredictable anger."
Defense lawyer Donna Rotunno, known to be a #MeToo skeptic, sought to shoot down those explanations by zeroing in on the accuser's admission that she also had non-coerced sexual encounters with Weinstein that she said only happened after “a long negotiation." Even then, “I wasn't happy to do it," she said. “You manipulated Mr. Weinstein every single time, isn’t that correct?” Rotunno asked. She responded: "I felt there was an aspect to the way I felt I needed to protect myself that had an element of manipulation." At one point, Rotunno shot back: "You made a choice to have sexual encounters with Harvey Weinstein when you weren’t sexually attracted to him. ... You liked the parties and you liked the power." The witness will return to the stand on Tuesday. (Read her graphic testimony from last week.)