Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California’s first lady, cried as she testified against Harvey Weinstein in the disgraced producer’s rape trial in Los Angeles on Monday.
Weinstein, who is already serving a 23-year sentence in New York following a separate trial, is currently on trial in Los Angeles on 11 counts of sexual assault stemming from the allegations of five different women who claim he abused them in hotels between 2004 and 2013. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and denies the allegations.
According to a pool report, Siebel Newsom sobbed on the stand on Monday when prosecutor Marlene Martinez asked her to identify Weinstein.
“He’s dressed in a suit with a blue tie and is staring at me,” Siebel Newsom explained.
Siebel Newsom spoke quickly at the start of her testimony and admitted she was “a little nervous.”
“I’m sorry, I just need to take a deep breath,” she said when she couldn’t remember what year she started working as an actress.
When Siebel Newsom took the podium, the gallery was packed with her supporters. The hallway was cleared after she left the room wearing a coat and sunglasses during her lunch break. Deputies from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department worked together to protect her.
Siebel Newsom is testifying as “Jane Doe 4” in the Weinstein trial, but Insider is naming her because she publicly identified herself as one of the five accusers through her attorney shortly before the trial began last month.
Siebel Newsom claimed she met Weinstein at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and that the producer raped her shortly afterwards in a hotel room.
She first accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct in an October 2017 HuffPost essay.
“I was naive, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,” she wrote at the time. “Work invitations with a friend late-night at The Toronto Film Festival, and later an invitation to meet with him about a role in The Peninsula Hotel, where staff were present and then all of a sudden disappeared like clockwork, leaving me alone with this extremely powerful and intimidating Hollywood legend.”
Siebel Newsom, now a documentary filmmaker, spent years as an actress in Hollywood, appearing in TV shows and films such as “Rent,” “Numbers,” and “Mad Men.” In 2008, she married Democrat Gavin Newsom. He is now the governor of California and is widely regarded as a potential presidential candidate.
In his opening statement, Mark Werksman, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, said Siebel Newsom would be “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood” if she didn’t claim to be a rape victim.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Werksman suggested in opening statements that two of the women’s accounts were false, while the other three women engaged in “transactional sex” with Weinstein to advance their careers.
Weinstein’s freedom could hinge on the LA case — where he faces up to life in prison if convicted — since a New York appeals court in August agreed to hear Weinstein’s case.
During his opening statement, Werksman made a dig at Siebel Newsom, saying: “Today she is the wife of Gov. Newsom. She’s the first partner of California … She’s made herself a prominent victim in the MeToo movement … otherwise she’d be just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood.”