LOS ANGELES, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the wife of California’s governor, testified on Monday that former film producer Harvey Weinstein raped her in 2005 when she was trying to build a career as a producer and actress.
On the witness stand in Los Angeles Superior Court, Siebel Newsom said she met Weinstein, now 70, at the Toronto Film Festival when she was 31 and had a small film and TV role.
Weeks later in California, Weinstein invited her to meet him at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills for what she thought was a business meeting, she testified. He was surprised to find out that he was supposed to meet Weinstein, then one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood, in his hotel room, he said.
When reached, Weinstein was not interested in discussing his projects, Siebel Newsom said. He went to the bathroom, called her and started rubbing his forearms in front of her, she said, before touching her breasts and becoming “aggressive.”
“I was scared. This was not the reason why I came here,” he said, with tears in his eyes. “I just remember physically trying to come back.”
Siebel Newsom said Weinstein carried her onto the bed, although she did not remember whether he carried her or dragged her there. Then he raped her, she said.
“He was big and determined,” she said. “This was hell.”
Weinstein, the man who became the face of the #MeToo allegations five years ago, has been sentenced to 23 years in prison for sex crimes in New York. He is currently on trial in Los Angeles on 11 counts of rape and sexual assault and has pleaded not guilty.
Siebel Newsom, identified in court as Jane Doe #4, is one of four women whose allegations are the basis of the Los Angeles indictment against Weinstein. Prosecutors had previously said there were five defendants.
Siebel Newsom’s attorney confirmed in October that Siebel Newsom will testify at the trial.
Defense attorneys said all of Weinstein’s sexual relations were consensual and that his accusers willingly participated in the culture of “dumping the bed” to further their careers in Hollywood.
During the meeting with Siebel Newsom, she did not meet her future husband, Gavin Newsom, who is now from California, and said that he did not tell him what happened until after the allegations against Weinstein became public.
Under cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney Mark Werksman asked Siebel Newsom about why her husband accepted campaign donations from the producer. He said the governor returned the money after he told him about the encounter.
Weinstein, 70, was convicted of sexual misconduct in New York in February 2020. He was extradited from New York to a Los Angeles prison in July 2021.
In New York, Weinstein is appealing his conviction and 23-year prison sentence. He could face up to 140 years in prison if convicted of all charges in Los Angeles.
Report by Lisa Richwine. Edited by Gerry Doyle
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