Jennifer Siebel Newsom testifies against Weinstein: 'It's so disgusting, so wrong'

Jennifer Siebel Newsom testifies against Weinstein: ‘It’s so disgusting, so wrong’

Jennifer Siebel Newsom spoke at Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial on Monday and accused the fallen Hollywood mogul of raping her 17 years ago in a Beverly Hills hotel suite while she was a struggling actress.

During jury testimony in downtown Los Angeles, Siebel Newsom cried and sometimes cried as she shared graphic details of what she recalled as a violent assault that lasted over an hour. The rape “destroyed me emotionally,” she told the jury.

‘It was hell,’ she said as her husband, Governor Gavin Newsom, waited in a room down the hall after the court refused to allow her into the courtroom. hearing to hear the testimony of his wife.

As the trial entered its fourth week, Siebel Newsom became the seventh woman to testify that Weinstein used his influence to isolate them in hotel rooms and assault them in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Puerto Rico or Toronto. Details of Siebel Newsom’s allegations had not been made public prior to his testimony.

Weinstein, 70, is serving a 23-year prison sentence for a sex crime conviction in New York. The ongoing lawsuit stems from alleged sexual assaults at Los Angeles-area hotels between 2004 and 2013.

Siebel Newsom said when she met Weinstein at the Toronto International Film Festival weeks before the attack, she was a 31-year-old actress and filmmaker who considered him “the pinnacle of the industry”. At the time, she said, she had not yet met her husband, then mayor of San Francisco.

Asked by a prosecutor to identify Weinstein in the courtroom, Siebel Newsom covered her face in her hands, sniffled and wiped away tears before pointing him to the defense table.

“He looks at me,” she said.

Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein appears in Los Angeles court

Harvey Weinstein appears in court at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Los Angeles on October 4.

(Etienne Laurent/Associated Press)

At the film festival, she testified, she was talking with friends in a bar when she noticed “everyone backed off” as Weinstein approached her and introduced himself.

“I felt like the Red Sea was parting,” she recalls. “I don’t know if it was deference or fear.”

She said she found Weinstein both charming and intimidating, but she was flattered that he seemed curious about her budding career.

On a trip to Los Angeles a few weeks later, she said, Weinstein stopped at her West Hollywood home to deliver a gift, a book about MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer, and invited her to meet him the following day at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills to discuss her aspirations.

She expected to meet him at the hotel bar, she said, so she was confused and hesitant when a Weinstein aide summoned her to his lavish suite. As she waited for him on a sofa, she noticed a bottle of champagne in a bucket. This made her more nervous – “It felt a bit like a date,” she testified – but she decided to stay.

“You don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein,” she said. Asked by the prosecutor why not, she replied: “Because he could make or ruin your career.”

Once Weinstein finished his meeting and joined her on the couch, Siebel Newsom said, she expected to tell him about film projects she hoped to pursue in India or Africa, but he didn’t seem interested. He told her he wanted to be “more comfortable” and walked away, then called from beyond a dark hallway: “Can you help me?”

Siebel Newsom said he found Weinstein bent over in a bathrobe in a brightly lit bathroom. He was masturbating, she testified, and grabbed her and tried to put his hand on his penis.

“I just remember physically trying to back off,” she said, recalling her repeatedly telling him, “Please don’t.”

She said he came up to her and groped her breasts, but she kept backing away in a long “cat and mouse” at the bathroom door. “I was just delicately trying to pull myself away,” she said.

She described herself as “shaken” and “freaked out”, saying she was crying and shaking as he put her on a sofa and tried out different tactics to coerce her into having sex. He mentioned several actresses, she testified, and “tried to tell me it’s the industry.”

She said she ended up sharing the trauma of losing her sister when she was a girl to try to get him to see her as “a human, not an object”.

After 45 minutes, he forced her into the bedroom, she testified, and continued to grope her breasts through her clothes as he masturbated, using her “like this inflatable doll” so that she continued to cry, to tremble and to resist.

Siebel Newsom cried loudly as he answered a prosecutor’s questions about what happened in the bedroom. She wore a wrap dress, her favorite for auditions, she said, and Weinstein got it. “He inserted his fingers into my vagina,” she testified. “I’m shaking. I’m crying. He knows that’s not consent at all.

Weinstein, she said, inserted part of his penis inside her and gave her oral sex, and she kept thinking she might catch a disease.

“I was afraid that he would put his body in my body and hurt me.” she testified. She said she finally decided she needed to make “pleasure noises” and masturbate him.

“I just did it to make it stop,” Siebel Newsom said. “I just wanted to get the f— out of there. Excuse my language. I’m sorry, I just wanted to get out.

Weinstein then suggested they could be girlfriend and boyfriend, she said, and “I just thought I was going to throw up.”

“He just said, ‘What would it be like to introduce me’ to my dad?” she told jurors. “And I just thought, ‘Oh my God, this is so disgusting, so wrong.'”

Siebel Newsom initially seemed eager to testify Monday morning, but was also visibly nervous. At one point, she stopped and told the court, “Sorry, I just need to take a deep breath.”

The women involved in the case testify anonymously. The Times does not name victims of sexual assault unless they have spoken out publicly or asked to be identified. Siebel Newsom accused Weinstein of abuse in a 2017 Huffington Post essay that was published just days after mainstream news outlets began reporting the rape charges against the Miramax co-founder. His involvement in the Los Angeles lawsuit was not widely known until the Times reported it last month.

Siebel Newsom first reported the 2005 rape to police in 2020, nearly three years after other women’s allegations against Weinstein sparked the #MeToo movement. She acknowledged sending him friendly business emails in the years following the incident.

“I had a career,” she said. “I tried to put what happened in a box.”

Siebel Newsom also said she once had one of Newsom’s campaigns soliciting a $500 donation from Weinstein, which her husband returned.

Weinstein is charged with 11 counts of rape and sexual assault stemming from charges brought by Siebel Newsom, identified in court as Jane Doe 4, and four others. All but one of the women testified.

Prosecutors made no mention of Jane Doe 5 throughout their presentation of evidence. Weinstein’s defense team has asked Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench to dismiss all four counts related to her accusation if she does not testify. Lench declined to do so, and Thompson did not comment on the woman’s status in the case.

Two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said the prosecution had “witness availability issues” with Jane Doe 5 because she lives out of the country and cannot be brought to trial by subpoena. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity in order to speak candidly about the situation.

If convicted in Los Angeles, Weinstein would face a de facto life sentence.

Weinstein has denied any wrongdoing. His attorneys, Mark Werksman and Alan Jackson, aggressively questioned his accusers during cross-examination. Werksman said the assaults described in Jane Does 1 and 2 never happened and claimed some of the other accusers, including Siebel Newsom, engaged in ‘transactional sex’ with Weinstein to advance their Hollywood careers. .

“The accusers in this case, women who voluntarily played the game by the rules that applied at the time, they will come into this courtroom now, accompanied by their lawyers, and claim that they were raped and sexually assaulted,” Werksman said when it opened. statement. “They have to lie to themselves…to make it look like what they did consensually at the time was forced upon them.”

In one of the most stunning moments of the trial, Werksman also said that Siebel Newsom was engaging in revisionist history by posing as a victim. Otherwise, he said, she would be “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”

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