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Weinstein's defence witness claims Jessica Mann 'spoke highly' of the producer

Mann is one of the women who gave testimony against Weinstein in his ongoing sexual assault trial in Manhattan, as she alleged the disgraced producer - whom she has admitted to having a non-sexual relationship with - had raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in Manhattan in 2013.

Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York City Criminal Court for the continuation of his rape trial on 24 January 2020 in New York City. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - A Harvey Weinstein defence witness has claimed Jessica Mann - who has accused Weinstein of rape - "always spoke highly" of the producer.

Mann is one of the women who gave testimony against Weinstein in his ongoing sexual assault trial in Manhattan, as she alleged the disgraced producer - whom she has admitted to having a non-sexual relationship with - had raped her at the DoubleTree Hotel in Manhattan in 2013.

And on Monday Weinstein's defence team called upon her former friend Talita Maia who alleges she was with Mann in Manhattan and claims the woman never told her about any of the alleged assault.

Maia claims she met both Mann and Weinstein for breakfast at the hotel in March 2013, and accompanied Mann to her room before she checked out.

Defence lawyer Donna Rotunno asked her: "Did she say anything bad had happened with Harvey earlier that morning?"

To which Maia replied: "I don't recall."

Maia also claimed Mann didn't "seem upset at all".

She was then asked by Rotunno: "Did she ever tell you that Harvey Weinstein hurt her? That he raped her? Forced her to do anything against her will?"

And she responded: "No, she always spoke highly of him. She seemed to really like him as a person."

Whilst under cross-examination by Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, Maia said she had been Mann's roommate for about six months when they were living in Los Angeles, and whilst they had a falling out in 2017, she doesn't "hate" Mann.

She explained: "Jessica did things in my life that impacted my life in a negative way, but I don't hate her."

Maia claims Mann described Weinstein as her "spiritual soulmate", and said it seemed as though she was "always going to see him".

Illuzzi-Orbon then mentioned an alleged incident in which Mann was "very upset" when she called Maia and told her Weinstein wanted her to "do something" with another woman, but Maia insisted the phone call didn't have "anything to do" with Weinstein himself.

Maia said: "You have to understand the context. Jessica was curious about girls. When she met [the woman], she said she was gorgeous, and from what I understand, she panicked and just couldn't go through. It never seemed like it had anything to do with Harvey."

Weinstein is facing two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of rape and one count of the criminal sex act, all of which he has pleaded not guilty to.

He has also denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

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