Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, spoke at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in Los Angeles on Monday, sometimes breaking down in tears as he alleged he raped her in a bedroom. hotel in 2005.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to multiple sexual assault charges, including four counts of rape, four counts of forced oral copulation, forcible sexual penetration and forcible sexual assault in incidents dating from 2004 to 2013.
Siebel Newsom was being cross-examined by the defense team when the judge halted proceedings for the day. She will resume her testimony on Tuesday morning.
Earlier, Siebel Newsom, the fourth accuser to testify, said she was “a little nervous” and became emotional shortly after taking the stand.
Asked by prosecutor Marlene Martinez if she could see Weinstein in court on Monday, Siebel Newsom began to cry and said “yes” into the microphone in a shaky voice.
“He’s wearing a blue suit and tie and he’s looking at me,” she said.
She told the court she met the media mogul aged 31 in 2005 while at a bar with other industry friends during the Toronto Film Festival. “There was this big person coming towards me and I felt like everyone was backing off,” she recalled, saying, “It was like the Red Sea was parting.”
He then introduced himself to her and asked her to meet him later to continue their conversation as he had a date, she testified.
“I felt like I had to go meet him…maybe he’ll give me some good advice…I thought there was genuine interest in talking to me about my work,” she said , adding that she and a friend had met Weinstein. in another hotel bar.
Weinstein “was really focused on telling me I was special,” Siebel Newsom told the court, adding that Weinstein told him he wished he could stay and talk some more, but he had to take a break. flight to New York.
She said Weinstein then contacted her in late September 2005 when he was in Los Angeles and she was living in the West Hollywood neighborhood. He stopped by a party she was hosting for five minutes and, according to Siebel Newsom, said: ‘I’ll be in touch, I’d like to have a meal with you or a drink or something and carry on the conversation. We can talk about your film projects.
He called her and invited her to a hotel where an aide told him the meeting would take place in Weinstein’s suite, she testified. After she arrived, Weinstein or an aide told everyone in the room to leave, she told the court.
She described Weinstein as indifferent to hearing about his plans. “He suddenly stood up and said I’m going to make myself more comfortable,” she said.
According to his testimony, Weinstein was in a hallway, bent over while wearing a dressing gown. “Can you help me?” she says he asked.
“Then I saw him touching himself and he grabbed me,” she told the jury as she began to cry.
He was aggressive and she tried to back down, she said.
Weinstein softened his approach, she testified, but ultimately he carried or dragged her into the bedroom and raped her.
When a prosecutor asked her why she stayed in the hotel suite, she replied, “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein. It could make or break your career. I thought I was going to discuss my plans.
Siebel Newsom said she didn’t tell anyone that night, nor did she call the police about the incident.
“I was so raped and I don’t know how it happened,” she said in tears. “I didn’t see the clues and I didn’t know how to escape.”
Defense attorney Mark Werksman said in his Oct. 24 opening statement that Siebel Newsom had consensual sex with Weinstein because she wanted his help getting roles and producing movies.
He took particular aim at her, attacking her credibility using foul language.
“She’s made herself a high profile victim in the #MeToo movement…otherwise she’d just be another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood,” Werksman said.
On Monday, he spent some time wondering if the governor – whom Siebel Newsom married in 2008 – knew about the alleged rape when he accepted a campaign contribution from Weinstein. Siebel Newsom said she asked campaign staff to ask Weinstein for money, but Newsom returned the funds “immediately” in October 2017 after realizing something had happened.
“I told him Harvey was sketchy at different times, and he figured that out himself when he met him,” she testified.
Weinstein is charged with forced oral copulation and forced rape of Jane Doe 4 between September 1, 2004 and September 30, 2005, according to court documents. Jane Doe 4 has been identified as Siebel Newsom.
Siebel Newsom is a graduate of Stanford University and has written, directed and produced several documentaries, including “Miss Representation”, “The Mask You Live In” and “The Great American Lie”. During her time as California’s First Partner, Siebel Newsom advocated for working mothers and launched initiatives focused on closing the gender pay gap, among other efforts.
The California lawsuit is his second sexual assault case since reports by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements while using his influence as Hollywood’s power broker to take advantage of young woman.
Weinstein was convicted in 2020 in New York of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He claimed his innocence, and New York’s highest court agreed in August to hear his appeal in the case.
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