LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Siebel Newsom, documentary filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, broke down in tears minutes after her testimony Monday when asked to identify Harvey Weinstein on the witness stand during a his trial.
Siebel Newsom spent 15 minutes on the stand in the downtown Los Angeles courtroom before a lunch break, becoming the fourth woman Weinstein is charged with sexual assault to testify in the former mogul’s trial. movie theater.
Asked by a prosecutor if she saw in court the person she met at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2005, she was silent and then burst into tears before managing to mumble “yes” into the microphone.
Told to describe Weinstein, 70, for the record, she looked over to the defense table where he was sitting, continued to cry and said, “He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie, and he’s looking at me .”
Siebel Newsom, 48, was “a helpless actor trying to make his way in Hollywood” in 2005 when Weinstein raped her during what she thought was a meeting to discuss his career at a hotel in Beverly Hills, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said during the trial’s opening statements.
Lawyers for Weinstein say the two had consensual sex and that she sought to use the powerful producer to advance his career.
Siebel Newsom described their first meeting, saying she was an actress and producer who had done a few bit parts when she went to the festival in September 2005 with a group of friends from the entertainment industry.
Siebel Newsom said a crowd of people in a hotel lobby seemed to clear as he approached her: ‘It was like the Red Sea was parting,’ she testified . “I don’t know if it was deference or fear.”
She said Weinstein, then at the height of his Hollywood power, was “the kingmaker” for those in the room.
“I felt a little intimidated,” she said. “He was charming. He initially treated me like he was really curious about me. Maybe I felt flattered?
She and a friend later met him at the hotel bar.
“I felt there was a real interest in talking about my work,” she said.
Siebel Newsom is known as Jane Doe #4 during the trial, and since the other Weinsteins are charged with rape or sexual assault, her name is not mentioned in court. But the identified prosecution and defense identified her as the governor’s wife at trial and Siebel Newsom’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press and other media that she was Jane Doe #4.
The AP generally does not name people who say they have been sexually abused unless they have come forward publicly.
Weinstein has had many famous accusers, including A-list actors, since becoming a magnet for the #MeToo movement in 2017. But none of the women telling their stories at the Los Angeles trial have had the notoriety. of Siebel Newsom, first partner of the man who last week sailed for a second term as governor of the nation’s most populous state and could run for the White House.
“She intends to testify at her trial to seek some justice for survivors and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women,” her lawyer Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement to the start of the trial.
Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, told jurors during opening statements that Siebel Newsom “a very high profile citizen of California” who has made herself “a high profile victim in the #MeToo movement.”
“Otherwise,” Werksman said, “she’d just be another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”
“Spaceballs” and “Melrose Place” actress Daphne Zuniga testified about her friend at the trial last week.
Zuniga said she and Siebel Newsom were on a hike when she told him she had a meeting with Harvey Weinstein. When asked how it happened, Zuniga said Siebel Newsom told him “not good, I don’t want to talk about it”.
“I’ve always known her to be positive, upbeat, looks you in the eye, great energy,” Zuniga said, but here “she seemed upset, restless, restless.”
Prosecutors said that – in a pattern described by many of Weinstein’s other accusers – Siebel Newsom expected them to meet in a public space with others present, but instead ended up alone with him. in his suite.
Judge Lisa Lench is allowing the defense to use an email Siebel Newsom sent Weinstein in 2007 asking for his help dealing with the media surrounding a scandal involving her husband, who was then mayor of San Francisco.
Already serving a 23-year sentence for a New York conviction, Weinstein pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault involving five women. He denied ever having non-consensual sex.
Need help? Visit RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center website.