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Prosecutor Details Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Claim Of Sexual Assault


2ND UPDATE with afternoon session: An actress and model identified as Jane Doe 1 tearfully recounted being forced to perform oral sex on Harvey Weinstein after he showed up at her hotel room, unannounced, following a film festival event in 2013.

The woman was the first to take the stand Monday in Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles rape trial, following opening statements from his legal team.

“I was crying, choking,” the women said, as she described how Weinstein allegedly grabbed her by the hair and shoved her face toward his private parts.

The woman broke into sobs and covered her mouth with her hand as she recounted the events, as prosecutor Paul Thompson asked her to continue describing what happened.

She filed a complaint with the Los Angeles Police Department in October 2017, shortly after the New York Times and New Yorker reported on multiple allegations of sexual assault by Weinstein.

Before jurors, Jane Doe 1, speaking at times with some assistance from a Russian interpreter, said that her grasp of English was a factor in her encounter with Weinstein.

She had been living in Rome in 2013 when she came to Los Angeles to attend the Italia Film Festival, where she was expected to “work red carpets.” She said that she had previously met Weinstein in Rome, and he invited her to his hotel room but she declined.

At the Los Angeles event, she said, she saw Weinstein in a VIP room but said that they “barely” spoke.

Yet later, when she was back in her Mr. C Hotel room, she got a call from the front desk, which put a call through from a person identifying himself as Weinstein. He insisted that he see her, she said, and then came to her room and began knocking.

Weinstein, she said, said that he wanted to talk but could not in the lobby because “it was a lot of people knowing him.”

When he got into her room, she said that he sat on a chair and that she was “really confused. I didn’t understand what was going on.”

“But I was never afraid of him,” she said.

They talked for a bit about their children, and eventually Weinstein removed his jacket. He then started talking about a massage, and she asked him to leave.

“I was continuing to ask him to go because I was realizing it was something awkward and I was missing my English a lot,” she said.

Weinstein then made a comment about the size of her breasts, she said, and he then tried to open her robe. She said that she pulled away and asked him again to leave.

She told the jury that she feared that her poor English may have accidentally led Weinstein to believe that she was interested in him. But she said that she was trying to explain that she would not have sex “because I have three kids.”

Weinstein then opened his pants, held her hand and began to touch himself. She started crying, she said, but Weinstein “didn’t care.”

“I was afraid of what he was doing, how he was acting, in my room,” she said. She said that Weinstein was arrogant, and that she kept asking him to leave.

She then tried to show Weinstein her phone and pictures of her kids, but he was “pulling” her. He was having a problem with an erection, and told her that she had “to do something to help.” He told her to perform oral sex on him. She cried as she recounted how she was “just scared” and he “started pulling me toward him.”

“I tried to stand up. My robe was open. It was miserable,” she said. It was then that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex.

Her testimony will continue Tuesday.

UPDATED with defense opening arguments: Harvey Weinstein’s attorney Mark Werksman told jurors Monday that the case against his client will “evaporate upon your close scrutiny,” arguing that the numerous allegations were in fact consensual sex or fabricated.

He said that the evidence in the case is “based on emotion, not facts,” that accusers were taking part in what he called “transactional sex.”

“It was the casting couch,” he said. “Everyone did it. He did it. They did it. Because each wanted something from another.”

“Now look at him,” Werksman said, referring to Weinstein. “He’s not Brad Pitt or George Clooney. Do you think these beautiful women had sex with him because he’s hot? They did it because he is powerful.”

He claimed that “an asteroid called the MeToo movement” struck with “such ferocity that everything changed overnight. And Mr. Weinstein became the epicenter of the MeToo movement.”

“The accusers in this case, women who willingly played the dame by the rules that applied back then, they will come into this courtroom now, with their lawyers in tow, and claim they were raped and sexually assaulted,” Werksman said. “They have to lie to themselves … to make what they did consensually back then seem like it was forced upon them.”

He told jurors that they would not see any eyewitness corroboration of the sexual assault claims, nor would there be forensic evidence. “You will see that not a single [Jane Doe] reported to the police that she had been sexually assaulted until five years after the fact.”

“You will see reams of emails and texts from the very women who accuse him of sexual assault asking him for future meetings…expressing regret that they didn’t see him. Asking for favors.”

He went through the list of accusers in an effort to cast doubts on their claims. That included Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Werksman said that Siebel Newsom, identified as Jane Doe 4, had a consensual sexual relationship with Weinstein because she wanted help getting roles and producing films.

“She’s made herself a prominent victim in the MeToo movement…otherwise she’d be just another bimbo with Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood,” Werksman said.

He referred to Siebel Newsom’s claim that she went “limp” and “dead inside” when Weinstein allegedly raped her. But Werksman claimed that she faked an orgasm with Weinstein during the alleged assault. “She did not communicate a lack of consent, just the opposite,” he said. Weinstein “actually and reasonably believed” that she had consented due to the fake orgasm, he said.

The defense attorney also noted that Siebel Newsom later sent Weinstein an email thanking him for inviting her and Gavin Newsom to a party.

“She brought her husband to meet and party with the man who raped her. Who does that?” Werksman said.

He also noted that Weinstein donated to Newsom’ s campaigns for mayor of San Francisco and for lieutenant governor.

“He took money from his wife’s rapist to advance his political campaigns,” Werksman said. “That’s the type of stuff you’re dealing with in this case.”

It was unclear when Siebel Newsom told her husband of the allegations. The prosecutor said in his opening statement that she did not tell him when they met, about a year after the alleged assault.

PREVIOUSLY, 1:11 PM: A Los Angeles prosecutor told jurors on Monday that multiple accusers will provide graphic and violent accounts of being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, as the producer faced his second criminal trial.

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson did not directly name the women accusers, but identified one of them as the wife of California governor Gavin Newsom. The attorney for Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a California filmmaker, had already said that she would be among those to testify during the trial.

Thompson described to the jury Siebel Newsom’s account of being raped by Weinstein, having been lured to his hotel room with the promise of career assistance in 2005.

At the time, Thompson said, Siebel Newsom was “a powerless actor trying to make her way in Hollywood,” when she met the producer at the Toronto International Film Festival.

That eventually led to Weinstein’s invite to the Peninsula Hotel to “discuss her career,” what she assumed would be at the hotel’s restaurant. But she was informed by Weinstein’s aide that the meeting instead would be in his hotel suite, and she assumed that some of his employees also would also be there.

According to Thompson, Siebel Newsom went to the hotel room and sat on a couch to wait for him. Wearing business attire, he entered with five or six other people, but they left, much to her surprise, Thompson said.

“She was nervous and uncertain of how to navigate this situation with one of the most powerful people in Hollywood,” Thompson said.

They spoke, then he went to the restroom. That is when he summoned her, and she found him in his bathrobe.

“She was shocked, and her mind raced,” Thompson said.

Weinstein then asked her to touch him, and after she refused, he moved toward her and referred to “a list of A-list actresses whose careers he supposedly made, and his voice moved from pleading to aggressive and demanding,” Thompson said.

The prosecutor said that Siebel Newsom was crying and shaking when Weinstein forced her to the bed.

“She couldn’t get any words out because of her fear,” he said.

Weinstein then told her to “relax” and that “this is going to make her feel better.” He then went down on her without her consent and forcibly raped her, Thompson said.

Siebel Newsom met Gavin Newsom about a year after the alleged assault, but she did not tell him about it, according to the prosecutor. They sometimes saw Weinstein through the years, as he was a major contributor to Democratic politicians and gave money to Gavin Newsom. Siebel Newsom did confide to a friend, actress Daphne Zuniga, about the assault in 2005, and told another friend she had been raped by “somebody high up in the food chain” in the entertainment industry.

In his opening statement, Thompson also ran through the accounts of other accusers, highlighting some of the commonalities in Weinstein’s behavior, but telling the jury that “each of these women came forward independent of each other, and none of them knew one another.” He displayed photos of the women on a screen near the jury box.

Thompson also said that most of the victims also would describe “unique things” about Weinstein’s body, referring to his genitalia. Weinstein had surgery for an infection in 1999 that caused scarring. None of the women “will describe his anatomy perfectly, but most of them will be able to describe these abnormalities that they observed during the assaults.”

Weinstein denies the charges, and has contended that his sexual relations with accusers was by their consent. His attorneys will present their opening argument later on Monday.

Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty on eleven sexual assault charges that involve claims of five women between 2004 and 2013. In court records, the accusers have been identified as Jane Does, but some women, like Siebel Newsom, have come forward. Thompson identified four accusers during the opening arguments, and it was not immediately clear whether a fifth would testify.

A jury of nine men and three women is hearing the Los Angeles case, following about two weeks of jury selection. The trial is expected to last until late November.

Weinstein was convicted in 2020 on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts, and he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was granted an appeal by New York’s highest court in August, raising the chance that his conviction in that state will be overturned.

Weinstein, who had been transferred to Los Angeles county jail to await the second trial, faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison if convicted of the additional charges. The grand jury charges are for 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.

At the Los Angeles court on Monday, Weinstein wore a black suit, blue tie and glasses as he was brought to the courtroom in a wheelchair, seated at the right edge of the defense table.

As they did in the New York trial, his attorneys already have indicated that they plan to introduce evidence that Siebel Newsom communicated with Weinstein about two years after the alleged assault, including an email in which she sought his media advice as Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, faced the disclosure that he had an affair with the wife of one of his aides.

Judge Lisa Lench ruled that the email could be introduced, but under limited circumstances. She said that the details of the email were “too tangential in relation to this trial.”

Shortly after The New York Times first reported on accusers’ allegations against Weinstein, triggering the MeToo movement and cultural reckoning over sexual harassment and assault, Siebel Newsom wrote a Huffington Post op ed in October, 2017. She wrote that “however many hotel robe-wearing incidents, private conversations, and settlements later, it is clear that his behavior was not just widespread, but also well documented.” Her attorney said earlier this month, “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap.”

The account of Monday’s proceedings was provided via a pool report.

Thompson also indicated to jurors that four “prior bad acts” witnesses also would testify with their own claims, which fall outside the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles court. That includes the account of model Ambra Gutierrez, identified in court as Ambra B., who went to the New York police with her allegations that Weinstein grabbed her breast and put his hand up her skirt during a meeting in his office in 2015. Thompson played the recordings she made of conversations with Weinstein afterward, as New York police listened in to him attempt to entice her back to his hotel room.

“Setting aside Ambra, the other seven women did not disclose his assaults” until after 2017, when the Times and then New Yorker stories ran.

The first witness scheduled to testify — Jane Doe 1 — was described as a model and actress who lived in Italy but came to Los Angeles in mid-February, 2013, to attend the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival and then the Oscars.

Thompson said that Jane Doe 1 would describe being at her hotel, having returned from the festival event, when Weinstein showed up at her room unannounced. He had been making noise so she opened the door and he barged in and sat down on her couch. She asked him to leave, but he pulled at her robe and grabbed her breasts, Thompson said, then dropped his pants, climbed in the bed and began masturbating. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled him onto the bed, and forced her to orally copulate him and told him to “suck her” before reaching under her robe and digitally penetrating her.

Jane Doe 1 then started crying and “tried to show him pictures of her kids,” but he pulled her into the bathroom, pushed her over the sink and raped her, Thompson claimed.

She went back to the festival the next day and posted to social media, but that was “part of her job,” Thompson said. He said that “even though she felt horrible inside she continued to work that week.” He said that she told her daughter about the alleged assault in 2017, but that was before the Times and New Yorker pieces on Weinstein were published. After those stories, she filed a complaint with the LAPD in October, 2017.





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