- Through tears, Williams said Delvey whose real name is Anna Sorokin was her friend for a year and a half, treating her to expensive restaurants and taking her and two other friends on an expensive trip to Morocco.
- At one point on the Morocco trip , Delvey asked Williams to use her credit card to pay for the hotel and other parts of the trip, saying she would reimburse her. Williams was stuck with $62,000 in bills, which she couldn't pay.
- Williams ultimately wrote about her experience for Vanity Fair. She's adapting her story into a book for Simon and Schuster for $300,000, and HBO paid her $35,000 to adapt it into a project with Lena Dunham.
- Delvey's alleged larceny against Williams is one of 10 counts she's on trial for now.
You’re starting to sound like a fraud’: A former Vanity Fair editor who says she was scammed by Anna Delvey testified against the fake heiress
Rachel Williams, who wrote about her account with Anna Delvey for Vanity Fair , testified Wednesday about being allegedly scammed by the fake heiress.
Former Vanity Fair photography editor and star witness Rachel DeLoache Williams testified about her experience with Anna Delvey in court Wednesday, telling the jury about her luxurious vacation to Morocco with the fake heiress and the horror of realizing that she was stuck with a $62,000 bill that Delvey had promised to pay.
"I'm losing it. I'm up every night having attacks and I'm late for work," Williams testified through sobs, explaining her feelings when Delvey offered new excuses about not paying her. "I'm getting phone calls from AMEX, which just causes more panics attacks, because I'm just telling them the same things Anna's telling me, which is, 'It should be just any day now, it should be any day now.'"
Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, is on the third week of her criminal trial. Delvey lied about her identity, saying she was a German heiress with a $60 million trust fund, and used that story to gain access to New York's elite socialite scene with the apparent intention of raising money for a proposed mixed-use art gallery and restaurant space.
Prosecutors say it all amounted to a larger scheme where she lived a life "fit for a Kardashian" by stealing around $300,000 and attempted to steal millions more. She's on trial for 10 counts of theft, larceny, and attempted theft and larceny. One of the counts names Williams as a victim, for grand larceny in the second degree.
Williams' testimony goes to the question at the heart of the case whether Delvey merely fell behind on her debts or engaged in criminal theft. The argument of her attorney, Todd Spodek, hinges on convincing the jury that his client's simply fell behind on her bills and intended to pay everyone back, including Williams.
Williams eventually signed deals with HBO and a book publisher worth $335,000
As she testified in court, Williams ultimately turned the story of her experience with Delvey into an article for Vanity Fair , for which the magazine paid her $1,300.
The article was released around the same time as a New York magazine article by Jessica Pressler about Delvey . Pressler's article is being adapted into a project by Netflix, which acquired the rights to Delvey's life story .
Lena Dunham is adapting Williams's version of events into a project for HBO, which paid Williams $35,000 for adaptation rights. Williams also testified that she's turning her story into a book for Simon and Schuster for $300,000, so far receiving $63,000 of a $75,000 advance.
The two went on a trip to Morocco. Delvey said shed foot the bill.
Williams first befriended Delvey in February 2016 at a Manhattan nightclub called Happy Ending. As a photography editor for Vanity Fair, her job involved logistical arrangements for high-profile photo shoots like Annie Leibovitz photographing Rihanna in Havana, making sure cast members for "Game of Thrones" could make it to shoot sessions in Finland, and getting Lady Gaga to a shoot in New York. She ran in social circles with people who worked in the fashion industry, and met Delvey through one of them.
The two became close, spending a lot of time eating, drinking, partying, and hanging out near 11 Howard, the Soho hotel where Delvey lived. One venue was an on-site infrared sauna , which Williams described as a "sort of cubicle-like room" that's "kind of like a microwave" where they listened to music and talked. Delvey almost always paid the bill.
She also brought Williams along to her personal training sessions with Kacy Duke whom Delvey hired and befriended because she trained Dakota Johnson for "50 Shades of Grey," Williams said. Duke appeared in the court audience Wednesday, telling INSIDER she was there to "show support" for Williams.
Williams testified about a trip that she, Delvey, Delvey's personal trainer, and the photographer Jesse Hawk took in May 2017. Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Kaegan Marie Mays-Williams, who described the trip as "fit for Kardashian" in her opening statement at the beginning of the trial , asked Williams about how it went.
"The place she decided to go was one of the most expensive places in the world, and at that point I understood she would be paying for the trip," Williams said. "I went because it sounded like a wonderful opportunity."
Delvey asked Williams to book a riad a type of Morroccan villa at Mamounia, an enormous luxury resort in Marrakech with multiple bars, restaurants, gardens, and tennis courts for guests to enjoy. The riad alone cost $7,000 per night. They arrived on Saturday, May 13. When the four entered their personal villa through its ornate wrought-iron gate, they were greeted by a personal butler and a table topped with chilled wine, a vase of white roses, fresh fruit, and Moroccan pastries.
The group toured the area, spending thousands of dollars on restaurants, private tours of cultural sites, a visit to Richard Branson's Kasbah Tamadot resort, and Moroccan kaftans.
Delvey told Williams she would cover it all.
Williams ultimately had more than $62,000 worth of charges on her credit cards
On the morning May 18, it was clear something was wrong.
The hotel's billing systems didn't accept whatever form of payment Delvey provided. Frustrated, and with two men working for the hotel looming over them, Delvey asked Williams to offer her credit card, saying she'd pay her back later. Believing she would ultimately be reimbursed, Williams gave her card to the hotel employees and then went to the villa's pool until Delvey got dressed for the day.
"Anna appeared wearing my dress, which she did take out of my closet without asking," Williams said. "Which was fine. It felt kind of petty."
Delvey later asked Williams to put meals and other parts of the trip on her credit card as well. In addition to her personal American Express credit card, Williams also gave a credit card issued by Cond Nast for work purposes.
Williams left Marrakesh on May 19. In an email to Williams before the end of the trip, Delvey confirmed that it was her own responsibility to make sure that Williams was paid back. For months afterwards, Williams asked Delvey for reimbursement for the trip. The bills tallied up to more than $62,000, far beyond what Williams could pay on her own. Williams said she was delinquent on all her bills and couldn't pay her rent.
Youre starting to sound like a fraud
Prosecutors asked Williams to read aloud her text and email exchanges with Delvey. She recounted Delvey's excuses which stretched on for months about why Williams didn't receiving wire transfers and checks to reimburse her for the trip, which Delvey said she had sent. At one point, Delvey even asked if Williams wanted to be paid by Bitcoin. She ultimately sent Williams $5,000 by PayPal, months after the trip.
"I would never had agreed to this if I knew it would take this long," Williams told Delvey over text message. "Wires do not take weeks. Wires do not take days, even. I feel like you're not being straight with me ... Everything you say is shifty and vague. Nothing comes through. You're starting to sound like a fraud."
Williams sometimes sobbed as she read through the messages. At one point in the afternoon, the judge, Diane Kiesel, made the trial take a recess so that Williams could collect herself.
"I NEED TO BE REIMBURSED!!!!!!!" read one text dated July 26, 2017. "Your meetings and calls are leading to nothing!!! Help me here! I can't make my rent!!!!!!!! I am so FREAKED out!!!!!!!!!"
Williams said she wanted to tell her side of the story
Before Williams testified on Wednesday, prosecutors asked Kiesel to prevent Spodek from asking about the terms of Williams's deals with HBO and Simon and Schuster. The judge disagreed, and said Williams' compensation is relevant to the case, even if she has to break any non-disclosure agreements to discuss those details. (It's not unusual for the terms of adaptation deals such as the one Williams has with HBO to prohibit parties from speaking about stories until close to the project's release date. Williams didn't respond to a request for comment.)
"If they're paying her 15 dollars or if they're paying her a million and a half, I think there's a big difference there," Kiesel said.
Williams said she used some of the money she received from Vanity Fair, HBO, and Simon and Schuster to pay back her former boyfriend and a family friend, who lent her around $30,000 to stay afloat at the time.
Williams said she sought to profit from her experience with Delvey in order settle her debts. She also wanted a way to tell her story and offer a deeper perspective than other journalists.
"There are complex emotions involved," she said. "I just wanted to make something people can relate to."
Delvey's criminal trial is scheduled to end next week.
- Read more:
- Fake heiress Anna Delvey lied about her identity to try to get $22 million. Her lawyer says the plan was too inept to send her to prison.
- Netflix is paying for the rights to fake heiress Anna Delvey's life story
- Alleged 'socialite scammer' Anna Delvey refused to show up to court on Friday because she didn't like her outfit
- Prosecutors say alleged socialite scammer Anna Delvey pretended to be an influencer and went on a lavish Morocco trip 'fit for a Kardashian'
- Here's every witness who could testify against the 'fake heiress' at her criminal trial and the list includes one of Uma Thurman's exes
- Alleged socialite scammer Anna Delvey will be deported to Germany if she doesn't wind up in prison
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