Gavin Newsom’s Wife Bursts Into Tears at Weinstein’s Rape Trial: ‘He’s Staring at Me’


California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife took the stand in Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles rape trial Monday, and almost immediately burst into tears as she was asked to point out the man she has accused of sexually assaulting her twice.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a 48-year-old former actress and producer, admitted to prosecution attorney Marlene Martinez that she was “a little nervous” to give testimony. Newsom told the court that she first met Weinstein during the Toronto Film Festival more than 15 years ago.

“Do you see that person here in court today?” Martinez asked, prompting Newsom to break into tears.

“Yes,” she replied, according to pool reports from the courtroom. “He’s wearing a suit, and a blue tie, and he’s staring at me.”

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Newsom went on to say their first meeting—in Sept. 2005, well before she met her now-husband—happened in a hotel as she was huddling with some industry friends. At the time, she was a working actress who had done some “small roles” in some television shows and a couple of movies, she tested.

Weinstein, on the other hand, was a “kingmaker” and “at the top of the industry,” Newsom said. As the mogul approached her “everybody sort of like backed away,” she recalled, adding that it “felt like the Red Sea was parting.”

“He wanted to know who I was, what my name was, why I was there,” Newsom said. “…I felt a bit intimate. Hey was charming. He treated me initially like he was really curious about me. Maybe flattered is how I felt?”

Weinstein told her he wanted to meet up with her again, and they arranged to get together at the hotel’s bar later. “I felt like there was a genuine interest in talking about my work,” Newsom, who said she brought a friend along to the meeting, told the court.

A lunch break was called shortly after her brief testimony, with the governor’s wife scheduled to continue her testimony later on Monday. She is one of five women expected to take the stand in this latest trial to accuse Weinstein of sexually assaulting them.

Through her attorney, Newsom revealed on Oct. 10 that she was the woman referred to in the trial only as Jane Doe #4. “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap,” lawyer Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement at the time.

“She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women.”

Weinstein’s lawyers have argued that the disgraced producer did not sexually assault Newsom, but rather had “consensual,” “transactional” sex with her in exchange for helping her career. In his opening statement last month, defense attorney Mark Werkman called Newsom “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”

Fegan told Variety shortly after that she found Werkman’s words insulting. “Using adjectives like ‘bimbo’ and other over-the-top words to describe the elements, to me, reflects that Harvey doesn’t have facts to support his defense,” she said, “so they’re going to try and win based on drama and attacking the victims, as opposed to based on the evidence.”

The potential introduction of a 2007 email from Newsom to Weinstein as evidence had the defense and prosecution locking horns in late October. The email, a request for advice on dealing with the media, was sent after news broke that Gov. Newsom had previously had an affair with a married aide while in office as San Francisco’s mayor in 2005. (The Newsoms didn’t begin dating until 2006.)

Judge Lisa Lench granted curtailed permission to the defense to introduce the email in court, forbidding them from discussing the story behind the message. She explained that the affair was “too tangential in relation to this trial.”

Weinstein, now 70, is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in New York in 2020. In Los Angeles County, he faces four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual Penetration by use of force, one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents ranging from 2004 to 2013.

He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The trial is expected to run until the end of the month before being kicked over to the jury for deliberations.

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