Accusers: Weinstein excused lewd acts as showbiz norm

Harvey Weinstein arrives at court for his trial on charges of rape and sexual assault, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 in New York.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(AP) – Two aspiring actresses have testified that Harvey Weinstein preyed on their vulnerabilities while pushing the notion that sex could lead to film roles.

Dawn Dunning testified Wednesday at Weinstein’s rape trial that he led her to a bedroom, put his hand up her skirt and fondled her genitals during a 2004 meeting about her acting career.

Dunning also claims he offered her movie roles in exchange for joining in a threesome.

Tarale Wuluff testified that Weinstein led her to a darkened terrace where she was a waitress and started masturbating. She alleges Weinstein later raped her.

They are part of a group of women prosecutors are calling to testify about experiences with Weinstein that are not part of the underlying criminal charges, but could be a big factor in whether he goes to prison.

Prosecutors are using the two so-called “Molineux” witnesses to bolster their case against Weinstein, which is seen as a milestone for the #MeToo movement.

The judge has allowed them to testify about “prior bad acts” that didn’t result in criminal charges because of the statute of limitations and other legal issues.

Weinstein says any sexual encounters were consensual. His lawyers have sought to sow doubts about his accusers’ credibility.

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