“He was really focused on telling me I was special, and I was different,” Jennifer Siebel Newsom told a downtown Los Angeles jury Monday of her first meeting with Harvey Weinstein.
“He was like the kingmaker, he was the top of the industry,” she said on the stand about encountering Weinstein in 2005 at the Toronto Film Festival. “I was a working actress, I had little roles, guest-starring roles on TV shows and films, and I was working on some short films, I’d been in two features … but they were small roles.”
Expected to continue her testimony this afternoon, Siebel Newsom broke down in tears at one point this morning when asked to point out Weinstein in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center courtroom. With two security guards in the front row of Judge Lisa Lench’s courtroom, Siebel Newsom took the stand to questions from Deputy LA County DA Marlene Martinez after several other witness had testified Monday.
Having first revealed in late 2017 the interaction she had with Weinstein years beforehand, Siebel Newsom went public via her lawyer on October 10 that she was Jane Doe #4 in the incarcerated producer’s LA trial. “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap,” attorney Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement. “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.”
Siebel Newsom’s testimony comes after her husband, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, widely seen as a potential candidate for US president at some point, was easily selected last week.
Weinstein is facing grand jury indictments of four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents involving five women in LA County from 2004 to 2013. Sentenced to 23 years in prison by a Manhattan jury in March 2020 for multiple sex crimes, and now on appeal, the 70-year old Weinstein faces 140 years imprisonment if found guilty in LA
In his opening statement in the trial last month, Weinstein lawyer Mark Werkman dismissed the Siebel Newsom, the First Partner of California, as no more than “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood” if she hadn’t married now-gov. Newsom. As testimony from other Jane Does and witness commenced last month in the West Coast trial, information appeared in the press of contributions Weinstein made to Newsom’s various campaigns over the years, as well as encounters one-time filmmaker and actress Siebel Newsom — who married Newsom in 2008 when he was mayor of San Francisco — and her husband had with Weinstein after the alleged assault in late 2004-early 2005 in LA
In late October, Lench curtailed the defense’s ability to question Siebel Newsom about her 2007 communication with Weinstein over an affair her then-boyfriend Newsom had with a campaign aide’s spouse. The judge also limited the prosecution’s reach to ask about texts Siebel Newsom had with Louisette Geiss in 2015 about Weinstein and comments about former First Daughter Malia Obama’s internship at the Weinstein Co. in early 2017.
Weinstein’s trial is expected to run until the end of the month before the case goes to the jury.