Weinstein assaulted me twice: witness

A woman has testified that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her in a hotel room during the Toronto Film Festival in 1991, then did it again when she went to confront him in the same hotel during the same festival 17 years later.

Kelly Sipherd told a Los Angeles jury on Monday that she was a 24-year-old aspiring actor at the 1991 festival and didn't know who Weinstein was before she met him at a party.

She said her friends there were abuzz about the man whose company Miramax had surged to the forefront of independent film and was making its mark at the Oscars.

She said the two of them left the party for a glass of wine at a nearby cafe, then she went with him to his room at the Four Seasons Hotel because he said he had a script for a film with a role that would be perfect for him.

Once there, he went into the bathroom and emerged wearing only an open shirt and holding a hot washcloth, Sipherd testified.

She said he pulled her skirt off, put the washcloth on her and told her "my wife loves this".

She testified that she felt "nauseous, scared, terrified" and repeatedly told him to stop and asked, "What are you doing?"

She said he held her down and sexually assaulted her with his mouth and his hand. He then climbed on top of her and started to rape her but she was able to slip away and leave the room.

Sipherd testified that Weinstein called her at home repeatedly in the weeks that followed, and she often hung up, but eventually spoke to him.

Sipherd eventually accepted an offer from him to come to New York and talk to a woman who does casting for him, but took a friend with plans to keep her constantly at her side.

In New York, she said Weinstein called her in her hotel room from the lobby and told her to get rid of her friend and he was coming up. She refused, and left New York having never seen him or the casting agent.

Already serving a 23-year sentence in New York, Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women in Los Angeles and has denied engaging in any non-consensual sex.

He is not charged with the alleged assaults described in Monday's testimony. Sipherd, along with three others, is being allowed to testify so prosecutors can attempt to show Weinstein's propensity for the crimes he's charged with.

Sipherd testified that she did not see Weinstein again until 2008, when she was 41 and temporarily living at the Four Seasons with her husband and children. She ran into Weinstein in the lobby during that year's festival.

"My blood kind of stopped," she said. "I was very angry."

When Weinstein's assistant came to her room to say he wanted to meet with her, she agreed.

"I wanted to confront him," she said.

"I felt like I was ready to give it to him."

Once in his room, she remembered asking, "How does it feel to be in front of the one woman who said no to you?"

Weinstein then dismissed his assistant from the room, and quickly guided her toward a door. She said before she realised it she was in a closed bathroom with Weinstein, where he was blocking her way out.

She said Weinstein grabbed her breasts and masturbated in front of her before letting her leave the room.

Sipherd said she didn't tell anyone about the second assault for years because of the "sheer embarrassment" of having it happen again.

Her testimony appears to be the first time she has told her story in a public setting.