Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes stand at Weinstein trial


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, nearly cried from the witness stand Monday when she told the court that Harvey Weinstein raped her in a hotel room and spoke about the devastating effect it had on her in the 17 years that followed.

“He knows this isn’t normal!” she screamed at the Los Angeles trial, recalling her thoughts during the alleged rape in 2005. “He knows this isn’t consent!”

She then yelled “Oh God!” as if they were overwhelmed by the memory, and gave in to crying. Weinstein watched from the defense table.

Siebel Newsom said she was unexpectedly alone with Weinstein in a suite at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, where she had agreed to go with him to a meeting. She said she assumed others would be there and they would talk about her career.

When he came out of the bathroom in a robe with nothing underneath and started groping her while he masturbated, she described her feelings.

“Terror! Terror!” she said. ‘I tremble. I’m like a rock, I’m frigid. This is my worst nightmare. I’m just a blow-up doll!”

She then gave a graphic description of a sexual assault and rape by Weinstein in the bedroom of the suite.

Weinstein’s lawyers, who were only allowed to question her briefly and will continue Tuesday, say the two had consensual sex and she was trying to use the powerful producer to advance her career.

Weinstein is already serving a 23-year sentence for a rape conviction in New York, and has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault in California involving five women.

Siebel Newsom is the fourth woman accused of sexual assault by Weinstein to take the stand in Los Angeles. Her testimony was the most dramatic and emotional yet in the three-week trial. She cried throughout her 2 1/2 hours on the stand, starting with when she was asked to identify 70-year-old Weinstein for the record.

“He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie, and he’s staring at me,” she said as tears began to flow.

Siebel Newsom, now 48, described how Weinstein first approached her to introduce herself at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival. At the time, she was a producer and actor with only a few small roles, and he was at the height of his Hollywood Power.

“It felt like the Red Sea parted,” she said, watching others in the room give way to him. “I don’t know if it was reverence or fear.”

But she said that when they had a drink later in the day, he was “charming” and “genuinely interested in talking about my work.”

A few weeks later, he was in the Los Angeles area where he stopped by her house during a small party to drop off a gift and invited her to the hotel meeting.

She described how nervous she was after being referred to his hotel suite. Asked by Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez why she didn’t walk away, she said, “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein.”

“He can make or ruin your career,” she said.

Afterwards, she said she felt “so much shame.”

“I’ve been so violated and I don’t know how that happened,” she said, sobbing. “I didn’t see the clues and didn’t know how to escape.”

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

The AP usually does not name people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they have come forward publicly.

Weinstein has had many celebrity accusers, including A-list actors, since he became a magnet for the #MeToo movement in 2017. But none of the women who told their stories at the trial have come anywhere near the fame of Siebel Newsom — wife of the man who last week sailed for a second term as governor of the most populous state in the country, and can run for the White House. The governor was not in court on Monday.

During cross-examination, Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman Siebel Newsom repeatedly pressed the moment she told her husband about the attack, pointing out in a transcript of a 2020 interview with prosecutors that Newsom was “maybe” the first who she told. The attorney was the first to use the name “Gavin Newsom” during testimony and often repeated that name.

She said she “dropped hints” over the years after meeting him when he was mayor of San Francisco. And he got the full report when women’s stories about Weinstein became widespread in 2017. He would then return Weinstein’s former political donations.

Werksman suggested that the couple sought Weinstein’s donations at a time when Newsom must have known her story.

He took money “from someone you hinted had done something despicable to you?” Werkman asked.

“It’s complicated,” replied Siebel Newsom.

“Well, is that just politics,” Werksman asked, “that you just take money from someone who did something despicable to your wife unless everyone finds out?”

Siebel Newsom denied Werksman’s suggestion that new elements of the alleged attack that she had not described in interviews with prosecutors or grand jury testimony first emerged in her testimony Tuesday.

He said he wanted to know why her story changed.

“We all heard you were very emotional,” he said. “You’ve had a lot of time to think about it in the last 17 years.”

Siebel Newsom said she spent much of that time trying not to think about it.

“It’s very traumatic, sir,” she said.


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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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