Monday, November 28, 2022

Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes stand at Harvey Weinstein trial: ‘He’s staring at me’

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

THE ANGEL — Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom, broke down in tears minutes after testifying Monday when asked to identify Harvey Weinstein on the witness stand at his trial.

Siebel Newsom spent 15 minutes on the witness stand in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom before a lunch break, becoming the fourth woman accused of sexual assault by Weinstein to testify in the former film magnate’s trial.

When asked by a prosecutor if she had seen the person in court who she met at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival, she fell silent and then burst into tears before managing to murmur “yes” into the microphone.

When asked to describe 70-year-old Weinstein for the record, she looked at the defense table where he was sitting and continued to cry, saying, “He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie and he’s staring at me.”

In 2005, 48-year-old Siebel Newsom was “a powerless actor trying to make his mark in Hollywood” when Weinstein raped her during what she thought would be a meeting to launch her career at a Beverly hotel Hills, Assistant District Attorney Paul Thompson said during the opening statement in the trial.

Weinstein’s attorneys say the two had consensual sex and that she tried to use the powerful producer to further her career.

Describing their first meeting, Siebel Newsom said she was an actress and producer who had played a few bit parts when she went to the festival in September 2005 with a group of entertainment industry friends.

Siebel Newsom said a crowd in a hotel lobby seemed to disperse as he approached: “It felt 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” to those in attendance.

“I felt a little bit intimidated,” she said. “He was charming. He initially treated me like he was genuinely curious about me. Maybe I was flattered?”

She and a friend later met him at the hotel bar.

“I felt like there was a real interest in talking about my work,” she said.

Siebel Newsom is known at trial as Jane Doe #4, and like the others, Weinstein faces charges of rape or sexual assault, her name will not be mentioned in court. But both prosecutors and identified defense identified her as the governor’s wife at trial, and Siebel Newsom’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press and other news outlets that she is Jane Doe #4.

The AP typically doesn’t name people who say they’ve been sexually abused unless they’ve 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 who shared their stories at the Los Angeles trial initially had anything close to the notoriety of Siebel Newsom, partner of the man who sailed last week to a second term as governor of the nation’s most populous state and possibly for the white House candidate.

“She intends to testify at his trial to seek some degree of justice for survivors and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women,” her attorney, Elizabeth Fegan, said in a statement early in the trial.

Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman told jurors during opening statements that Siebel Newsom is “a very prominent California citizen” who has “made herself a prominent victim in the #MeToo movement.”

“Otherwise,” Werksman said, “she’d be just another chick who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”

Actress Daphne Zuniga, star of Spaceballs and Melrose Place, testified about her friend at trial last week.

Zuniga said she and Siebel Newsom were out on a hike when she told her she’d been seeing Harvey Weinstein. When asked how it went, Zuniga said Siebel Newsom told her, “not good, I don’t want to talk about it.”

“I’d always known her to be positive, upbeat, looking into your eyes, beautiful energy,” Zuniga said, but here “she seemed upset, fidgety, excited.”

Prosecutors said that in a pattern described by many other Weinstein prosecutors, Siebel Newsom expected them to meet in a public place with others present, but instead found himself alone with him in his suite.

Judge Lisa Lench allows the defense to use an email Siebel Newsom sent to Weinstein in 2007 asking for his help dealing with the media surrounding a scandal involving her husband, then the mayor of San Francisco was.

Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year sentence for a New York conviction, has pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault involving five women. He has denied ever engaging in non-consensual sex.

- Advertisement -
Latest news
- Advertisement -
Related news
- Advertisement -

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here