Jennifer Siebel Newsom, actress and documentary filmmaker, burst into tears as she began her testimony at Harvey Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles on Monday, The Associated Press reports. Known as Jane Doe #4 in the case, Siebel Newsom is married to Gov. Gavin Newsom and alleges she was raped by Weinstein in 2005. Like the other women Weinstein is charged with raping or sexually assaulting, Siebel Newsom’s name is not being spoken in court.
After taking the stand, Siebel Newsom said she was “a little nervous.” When asked by the prosecutor, deputy district attorney Marlene Martinez, to identify the 70-year-old Weinstein in the courtroom, Siebel Newsom started to cry and said “yes” into the microphone. “He’s wearing a suit, and a blue tie, and he’s staring at me,” she said.
Siebel Newsom told the jury that she met Weinstein in 2005, when she was 31-years-old and at a bar with entertainment industry friends during the Toronto Film Festival. At the time, she was a working actor and producer taking on small roles and not yet dating Newsom.
“There was this big person coming towards me and it felt like everybody sort of backed away,” she recalled, describing when he initially approached her. “It felt like the Red Sea was parting. I don’t know if it was deference or fear.”
“He came directly to me and people sort of backed off. He wanted to know who I was, what my name was, why I was there,” she said.
She continued, “I felt a bit intimidated. He was charming. He treated me initially like he was really curious about me.” She said he told her he wanted to meet up with her later. “I felt like there was a genuine interest in talking about my work.”
When recalling her initial introduction to Weinstein, Siebel Newsom said, “He was like the kingmaker, he was the top of the industry.”
Later, she met up with Weinstein at a hotel bar, which was a public venue. She said he was very focused on her and not her friend who was also there. “One thing that was interesting is that he was very charming. He saw that I was smart,” she said. “He was really focused on telling me I was special and I was different.”
After speaking for 45 minutes, she said Weinstein asked for her phone number so that they could continue the conversation when they were back in Los Angeles.
In her afternoon testimony on Monday, Siebel Newsom gave a graphic account of the alleged assault that followed weeks later at a hotel in Beverly Hills. “He called to invite me to meet with him where he was going to be,” she said. “I assumed it was at the bar, where I had been to meetings before. He was interested in helping me with my career, and wanted to talk more to me about it to offer advice and support.”
However, when Siebel Newsom arrived, she said that an assistant messaged her to say that they would be meeting in Weinstein’s suite. “It was very opulent, I hadn’t been to a room like that,” she said. “I thought wow, he’s got a lot of money and a lot of power to be in a suite like this, I’d never been in a suite like that.”
When Weinstein came out he was wearing a suit and appeared anxious and in a hurry, said Siebel Newsom. “I thought I was going to discuss my projects, I had a film project in Africa, I had a film project in India that I’d written as well,” she said. “He wasn’t interested at all in talking to me about my projects, it’s like his head was not there.”
At this point, she said he got up abruptly to “get more comfortable.” Then he called to her to help him down the hall, Siebel Newsom recalled, who said that he was in the bathroom “touching himself” and began to grope her.
Siebel Newsom said she told him, “Please don’t, please don’t,” and searched for a way out. Yet even as she was trying to get away from Weinstein, she tried to make sure she did not upset him.
“I was also trying to just be gracious and not be angry,” she said. “I was just delicately trying to move away from him.”
Siebel Newsom testified that Weinstein eventually dragged or carried her to the bed and assaulted her with his fingers, penis and mouth. “He was hurting me,” she said on Monday, describing the incident as her “worst nightmare.”
In the aftermath of the alleged rape, Siebel Newsom said she “felt tremendous shame” and that Weinstein “had taken a piece of me”.
Weinstein is charged with forcible oral copulation and forcible rape of Jane Doe #4 between Sept. 1, 2004 and Sept. 30, 2005, according to court documents, CNN reports.
Though she is known as Jane Doe #4 and her name is not being said in court along with the other anonymous women Weinstein is charged with raping or sexually assaulting, both the prosecution and the defense have identified Siebel Newson as the governor’s wife during the trial. Siebel Newsom’s attorney also confirmed to The Associated Press and other news outlets that she is Jane Doe #4.
Siebel Newsom will is expected to resume her testimony on Tuesday. She is the fourth woman Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting to testify in the former Hollywood mogul’s trial.
This was updated the evening of Nov. 14 to include afternoon testimony.