Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, testifies that Harvey Weinstein raped her


Los Angeles
CNN

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, took the stand at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual-assault trial in Los Angeles on Monday, at times breaking down in tears as she claimed he raped her in a hotel room in 2005.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to multiple sexual assault charges, including four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, forcible sexual penetration and sexual assault by restraint in incidents dating from 2004 to 2013.

Siebel Newsom was being examined by the defense team when the judge adjourned the proceedings for the day. She will continue her testimony 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 Monday, Siebel Newsom began to cry and said “yes” into the microphone in a shaky voice.

“He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie and he’s staring at me,” she said.

She told the court she met the media mogul when she was 31 in 2005 while at a bar with other industry friends during the Toronto Film Festival. “There was this big man coming toward me and it felt like everyone kind of backed off,” he recalls, saying, “It felt like the Red Sea was parting.”

He then introduced himself to her and asked her to meet him later to continue talking because he had a meeting, she testified.

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“I felt like I should go and 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 met Weinstein at a different hotel bar.

Weinstein “is really focused on telling me that I’m special,” Sibel Newsom told the court, adding that Weinstein told her he would like to stay and talk a little more but he had to catch a flight to New York.

She said Weinstein contacted her in late September 2005 when he was in Los Angeles and she lived in the West Hollywood neighborhood. He left a party he was at 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 continue the conversation. We can talk about your film projects.”

He called and invited her to a hotel where an aide told her the meeting would take place in Weinstein’s suite, she testified. After he arrived, either Weinstein or an aide told everyone in the room to leave, he told the court.

She described Weinstein as uninterested in hearing about her projects. “He stood up abruptly and said I’m going to get more comfortable,” she said.

According to her testimony, Weinstein was down a hallway, bent over wearing a robe. “You can help me?” he says he asked.

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“Then I saw he was touching himself and he grabbed me,” she told jurors as she began to cry.

He was aggressive and she tried to back off, she said.

Weinstein softened his approach, she testified, but eventually carried or dragged her into the bedroom and raped her.

When asked by a prosecutor why she stayed in the hotel suite, she said: “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein. It could make or break your career. I thought I’d discuss my works.”

Siebel Newsom said she didn’t tell anyone that night or call the police about the incident.

“I was so violated and I don’t know how this happened,” she said through tears. “I didn’t see the signs 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 particularly targeted her, insulting her credibility using crude language.

“She became a prominent victim in the #MeToo movement … otherwise she would have been just another baby who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood,” Werksman said.

On Monday, he spent some time focusing on whether the governor — whom Siebel Newsom married in 2008 — knew about the alleged rape at the time he was accepting Weinstein’s campaign contributions. Siebel Newsom said she asked campaign staff to solicit money from Weinstein, but Newsom returned the money “immediately” in October 2017 after she discovered something was up.

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“I told him that Harvey was sketchy at different times and he got it himself when he met him,” she testified.

According to court documents, Weinstein is accused of violently raping Jane Doe 4 between September 1, 2004 and September 30, 2005. Jane Doe 4 has been identified as Siebel Newsom.

Siebel Newsom is a graduate of Stanford University who has written, directed and produced several documentaries including “Miss Representation”, “The Mask You Live In” and “The Great American Lie”. During her tenure as California’s first mate, Siebel Newsom has advocated for working mothers and launched initiatives focused on closing the gender pay gap, among other efforts.

The California trial is his second such sexual assault case, after reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret arrangements as he used his influence as a Hollywood power broker. to exploit young women.

Weinstein was found guilty in 2020 in New York of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence, and New York’s highest court agreed in August to hear his appeal in the case.

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