LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, was questioned Tuesday by one of Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys as to why her description of a 2005 encounter in which she says the filmmaker raped herself widened since she first spoke to prosecutors.
The testimony came three weeks after Weinstein’s rape and sexual assault trial in Los Angeles and the same day the judge, at the request of prosecutors, dismissed four of the 11 counts against him.
Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, pressed after Siebel Newsom what she described as frequent nightmares about meeting Weinstein in a Beverly Hills hotel suite.
“Did you have trouble actually discerning what happened in a nightmare and what actually happened in a bedroom at the Peninsula Hotel?” asked Werksmann.
“No, no,” Siebel Newsom replied.
She explained that the new elements of her testimony, some of which she testified under oath for the first time on Monday, were because she had more time to process what happened.
“The closer we’ve gotten to this topic and the more real it’s become, the more I need to clarify and go into detail,” Siebel Newsom said. “I had everything in a box, and I slowly shared a little bit at a time because it’s so painful.”
As Werksman kept returning to transcripts of her initial conversations with prosecutors in 2020, Siebel told Newsom that she didn’t think her initial conversations with police and prosecutors would result in indictments.
“I offered to speak to detectives first to support other women, not stand up here on the stand,” Siebel Newsom said.
She then burst into tears, as she occasionally did on Tuesday, although she wasn’t nearly as emotional as she was during her intense and dramatic statement a day earlier.
“You were the wife of the governor of California at the time and you were about to meet with the police and an assistant district attorney,” Werksman said, “and you didn’t think the implication of what you said was that it was you.” would a victim in an indictment be in a criminal indictment?”
Siebel Newsom said she thinks her allegations are likely to be past the statute of limitations.
“I honestly just spoke my truth and didn’t know what the outcome would be,” she testified.
Werksman, who says Siebel Newsom had consensual sex with Weinstein to advance her career, said during his questioning that her testimony showed that she failed to make clear her lack of consent during the encounter. He also showed her many kind emails she sent to Weinstein in the years that followed, which Werksman said were not sent by someone who had been raped.
She replied that she had put the attack aside in her mind and that communication was an unfortunate necessity for a young actress like her at the time.
“I just survived,” she said.
Siebel Newsom goes by the name of Jane Doe #4 at trial, and like the others, Weinstein faces charges of rape or sexual assault, her real name will not be used in court. But both the prosecution and the defense identified her as the governor’s wife at trial, and Siebel Newsom’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press and other news outlets that she is Jane Doe #4.
The governor, who sailed into a second term last week, was not in the courtroom for his wife’s testimony.
She will now be the latest of four women who Weinstein is accused of assaulting to testify at the trial after Judge Lisa Lench dropped charges against a fifth accuser.
Lench dismissed two counts of violent rape and two counts of violent oral copulation against 70-year-old Weinstein.
The move has been likely since the trial’s opening statements, when prosecutors only mentioned four women accused of assault by Weinstein and omitted the accuser, identified in an indictment as Jane Doe No. 5.
Prosecutors initially maintained the charges, leaving open the possibility that the woman would testify. But Assistant District Attorney Paul Thompson told the judge before testimony began Tuesday that they would not be pursuing the cases of Jane Doe #5.
The Los Angeles County Attorney’s Office has not provided an explanation as to why they chose to bar the woman from the trial.
The remaining charges against Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence based on a New York conviction, are two counts of rape and five other counts of sexual assault.
He has pleaded not guilty and said he did not have non-consensual sex.
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