Jennifer Seibel Newsom, a filmmaker and wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, participated in Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in Los Angeles on Monday, sometimes crying when she alleged he raped her in a hotel room in 2005.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to several counts of sexual assault, including four counts of rape, four counts of forced oral intercourse, forcible sexual penetration and sexual battery by restraint in incidents dating from 2004 to 2013.
Sibel Newsom was under questioning by the defense team when the judge stopped the proceedings that day. She will resume her testimony Tuesday morning.
Earlier, Sibel Newsom, the fourth defendant to testify, said she was “a little nervous” and grew emotional shortly after taking the stand.
When prosecutors Marilyn Martinez asked her if she would see Weinstein in court on Monday, Sybil Newsom started crying and said “yes” into the microphone in a trembling voice.
“He’s wearing a suit and blue tie and is staring at me,” she said.
She told the court that she met the media mogul when she was 31 in 2005 while at a bar with other friends in the industry during the Toronto Film Festival. “There was this huge guy coming towards me and I felt like everyone kind of retreated,” she recalls, “and I felt like the Red Sea was parting.”
She testified that he introduced himself to her and asked her to meet him later to continue their conversation because he had a meeting.
“I felt I should go meet him…maybe he would give me good advice..I thought there was a real interest in talking to me about my work,” she said, adding that she met her boyfriend Weinstein at a different hotel bar.
“Weinstein was really focused on telling me I was special,” Sibel Newsom told the court, adding that Weinstein told her he wished he could stay and talk more, but had to catch a flight to New York.
She said Weinstein then called her at the end of September 2005 when he was in Los Angeles, and she was living in the West Hollywood neighborhood. He attended a party she was giving for five minutes and according to Siebel Newsom, he 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.”
She testified that he called her and invited her to a hotel where her assistant told her the meeting would be in the Weinstein suite. After she arrived, Weinstein or her assistant told everyone in the room to leave, she told the court.
She described Weinstein as uninterested in hearing about her projects. “He got up all of a sudden and said I was going to feel more comfortable,” she said.
According to her testimony, Weinstein was in the hallway, hunched over while wearing a robe. “Can you help me?” She says he asked.
“Then I saw he was touching himself, and he grabbed me,” she told the jury, sobbing.
She said he was aggressive and tried to back off.
She testified that Weinstein softened his approach, but eventually carried her or dragged her into the bedroom and raped her.
When the attorney general asked her why she was staying in the hotel suite, she said, “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein. He can make or break your career. I thought I’d discuss my projects.”
Sibel 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 it happened,” she said, crying. “I didn’t see the clues and didn’t know how to escape.”
Defense attorney Mark Werksman said in his opening statement on October 24 that Sibel Newsom had consensual sex with Weinstein because she wanted him to secure roles and film production.
He specifically targeted her, attacking her credibility with vulgar language.
“She made herself a prominent victim in the #MeToo movement…otherwise she would have been just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to move forward in Hollywood,” Werksman said.
On Monday, he spent some time focusing on whether the governor – who married Siebel Newsom in 2008 – knew of the alleged rape at the time he accepted campaign contributions from Weinstein. Siebel Newsom said it asked campaign staff to ask Weinstein for the money, but Newsom returned the money “immediately” in October 2017 after something was discovered.
She testified, “I told him that Harvey was superficial at various times, and he picked it up himself when he met him.”
Weinstein was charged with forced oral intercourse 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 Stanford University alumnus who has written, directed and produced several documentaries, including “Miss Acting,” “The Mask You Live In” and “The Great American Lie.” During her tenure as California’s Senior Partner, Siebel Newsom has advocated for working mothers and launched initiatives focused on closing the gender pay gap, among other efforts.
The trial in California is the second sexual assault case since the New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 exposed Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual assault, harassment and secret settlements as he used his influence as a powerful Hollywood broker to cash in. young women.
Weinstein was convicted in 2020 in New York of a criminal first-degree sexual offense and third-degree rape and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He maintained his innocence, and in August New York’s highest court agreed to hear his appeal in the case.
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