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Jennifer Siebel Newsom Testifies at Harvey Weinstein Rape Trial

Jennifer Siebel Newsom testified at Harvey Weinstein’s L.A. trial on Monday, becoming emotional from the moment she took her oath on the stand to share graphic details of her alleged sexual assault. Through heavy tears, Siebel Newsom alleged that she was raped by Weinstein in 2005, when she was an up-and-coming actor and producer. The most high-profile witness of the trial, Siebel Newsom, who is named Jane Doe #4 in the case, is a public advocate for gender equality and is married to California Governor Gavin Newsom.

“I was afraid of what he was doing, putting his body into my body, and hurting me,” Siebel Newsom said on the stand, detailing the alleged rape that occurred at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. She also accused Weinstein of forced oral sex. “I’m crying, I’m trembling, I’m shaking and I’m frozen, too,” she recalled when speaking to the jury.

Weinstein is charged with forcible oral copulation and forcible rape of Jane Doe #4 between Sept. 2004 and Sept. 2005, according to court documents. (He is facing 11 sexual crimes charges, in total, for this trial.)

When she first entered the courtroom, accompanied by government security, Siebel Newsom said she was nervous. She was first greeted by the prosecutor, deputy district attorney Marlene Martinez. When asked to identify Weinstein in the courtroom, she broke into tears at the very question, managing to say “yes” into the microphone on the stand. “He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie and he’s staring at me,” Siebel Newsom said, identifying the defendant. “I’m sorry, I just need to take a deep breath,” she said at one point, early during questioning.

Siebel Newsom told the jury that when she first met Weinstein in 2005 at the Toronto International Film Festival, she was a working actor and producer with small roles. She was not yet dating Newsom at the time. The prosecution made clear to the jurors that in 2005, Siebel Newsom did not have the same stature that she does today, as the First Partner of California.

“Harvey Weinstein was more powerful than me,” Siebel Newsom said. “He was like the kingmaker. He was the top of the industry.”

Siebel Newsom recalled meeting Weinstein when she was with a group of industry peers at a gathering in a hotel area during the film festival.

“Harvey Weinstein introduced himself to me,” Siebel Newsom said. “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 continued, “I felt a bit intimidated. He was charming. He treated me initially like he was really curious about me.” After briefly meeting, Weinstein asked to meet up with her later. “I felt like I had to, like ‘Okay, sure,’” she said. “I felt like there was a genuine interest in talking about my work.”  

Later, when she met up with Weinstein at the hotel bar during TIFF, she said he was very attentive to her. “He was really focused on telling me I was special and I was different,” she said. Weinstein asked for her number, so that they could connect in Los Angeles. “I thought that he would reach out in the future to talk to me more and give me advice on work,” she said.

Back in L.A., Weinstein called to arrange a meeting at the Peninsula Hotel to discuss her “film projects,” and she agreed to take a meeting.

“It was the most prolific producer in Hollywood,” she explained. She assumed the meeting would be at the hotel bar, which was a typical place for business meetings in the industry. “He was interested in helping me with my career, and wanted to talk more to me about it to offer advice and support,” she added.

When she arrived to the Peninsula, Weinstein’s assistant said the meeting would be in Weinstein’s suite. “I was confused. I was a little hesitant,” she said. “I was expecting to meet him where the noise and the buzz was and there was all this conversation. I was just confused and I didn’t know what to do.” 

When the assistant let her into Weinstein’s hotel suite, Siebel Newsom expressed she was taken aback by the opulence. “I hadn’t been to a room like that. I thought, ‘Wow, he’s got a lot of money and a lot of power to be in a suite like this,” she said. “It felt like not what I thought I was going to. It felt fancy, it felt a little bit like a date.” She says she was “nervous” and “uncomfortable,” but she just waited. “Why?” The prosecutor asked. “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein,” Siebel Newsom responded. “He could make or ruin your career.” 

Weinstein, wearing a suit, sat next to her on the couch. “He wasn’t interested at all in talking to me about my projects,” she said. “He abruptly got up and said, ‘I’m going to go get more comfortable.’” 

Beginning to cry, Siebel Newsom said she was “confused” and “thrown off,” but had no idea what was about to happen. “I didn’t know there was danger,” she said.

She heard Weinstein’s voice from down the hall, asking, “Can you help me?” Taking a deep pause, she testified that Weinstein was in a bathrobe in the hotel bathroom.

Through tears, she told the jury, “I saw that he was touching himself, and he grabbed me. And he tried to get me to touch him.” Siebel Newsom testified that Weinstein touched her breast over her clothing and she backed away. She described Weinstein’s demeanor as “aggressive.”

“He just like, ‘Come here,’ and honestly I panicked. And I just was like frozen,” she said. “I was scared. This was not why I came here. It was like a complete manipulation of why I was there. And I just remembered physically trying to back away.” 

Siebel Newsom was scared he could “assault me in some way” or that he could “force me to do something sexual.” 

It was difficult to understand Siebel Newsom, at times, through her tears. She recalled being rattled and said she told Weinstein, “Please don’t. Please don’t.” She was looking how to escape the bathroom, but she couldn’t get past Weinstein through the door. She guessed Weinstein weighed 300 pounds, compared to her weight of 115 pounds at the time. “I back-pedaled and he would go toward me. Just sort of this cat-and-mouse thing in this little area,” she said. “I was also trying to just be gracious and not be angry. I was just delicately trying to move away from him.” She said she was shaking, and Weinstein noticed, so at one point, he was asking for her forgiveness and she tried to speak to him, hoping he would back off. “I was trying to snap him out of this fervor… to soften him to have some empathy for me.” 

Weinstein “mentioned several actresses names,” Siebel Newsom testified, suggesting that Weinstein told her he had been sexually intimate with other actresses in order to boost their career. “He tried to tell me that this was the industry, and in a way, like threaten me.” She said he made her feel like she had no power and like she was “trapped.”

Taking a pause to gather herself, Siebel Newsom explained that she was exhausted and confused, during that moment. “There was just mental jujitsu in trying to defend myself,” she said.

She doesn’t recall exactly what happened next, but said that Weinstein either “carried me” or “dragged me” into the bedroom. “My memory is not perfect,” she said, as she tried to detail the alleged incident.

She told the jury that she has been having nightmares, so different scenarios have been playing in her head. Siebel Newsom stated that she wasn’t sure how she got to the other room, but that she knoew she felt forced by Weinstein towards the bed.

“When I have awakened with nightmares, some of the transitions were less clear to me,” she testified. 

Crying heavily, Siebel Newsom went into detail of the alleged assault, calling it a “horror.”

“He starts groping my breasts and touches himself,” Siebel Newsom testified. “I’m resisting… and he’s touching my breasts and touching himself… I’m trembling. I’m like a rock. I’m frigid. This is my worst nightmare. I’m just this blow-up doll… He takes his fingers and inserts them, but I still had my underwear on. I clamp my legs, but he still gets my underwear off… He inserted his fingers in my vagina.”

“He knows this is not normal, he knows this is not consent,” she said through tears, before shouting “Oh, God.”

Continuing with her testimony, she said, “He’s just so focused on his penis and getting an erection…And then he puts part of his penis inside of me because he pushes me back against the bed. And I’m so scared.”

“It’s not staying in because his penis is so weird and messed up. He realizes this,” she said, speaking on Weinstein’s abnormal genitalia that has been described in detail by other women who’ve also testified in the trial. “I was just worried I was going to get some disease. It was so gross.” 

“This was hell,” she told the jury. She said Weinstein then “pushes me around,” pulls up her dress and “puts his tongue in my vagina.” 

“Then he tries to climb up and stick his penis in me again,” she continued. Siebel Newson explained that in an effort “to try to make him stop,” she used her hand on his penis until he ejaculated because she desperately did not want him inside of her.

“He was so determined, just so scary, just all about him and his pleasure, his need for satisfaction, so I just did it to make it stop.” She faked an orgasm, hoping that would make it all end. “I just made some noises to get him to ejaculate faster. Just like pleasure noises.”

“I just wanted to get the fuck out of there,” she said, crying again. “Pardon my language.” 

She left the hotel room and went to the valet to get her car. She said she was in a state of shock. “It was like the Twilight Zone. I just walked down this hallway it felt like forever,” she said. “It was like an out-of-body experience…I was trying to process what happened. I remember crying, and telling myself, That didn’t just happen, Jen. It’s okay. You’re gonna be fine.’”

She did not report the incident to the police because she didn’t feel safe. She said that she eventually told two of her friends about the incident, “Melrose Place” actor Daphne Zuniga, who testified last week, and actor Louisette Geiss, who is also an accuser of Weinstein.

Weinstein called Siebel Newsom the next day to ask if he could help her get a role. “I was cold,” she said. “I didn’t want anything from him…I felt like he had just taken a part of me.” She ended up sending her audition tape to a casting director.

“I felt tremendous shame, and basically was still processing this all. He had taken a piece of me,” she said. “I was just playing the game. I was just pretending like nothing happened and putting that in a box over here and moving on with my career … I was so violated and I don’t know how that happened. I didn’t see the clues and I didn’t know how to escape.”

Asked when she saw Weinstein next, Siebel Newsom said she would “unfortunately” bump into him at industry events, premieres and parties. She recalled seeing him at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007 and having a “quick but uncomfortable” interaction with him at SAG Awards where she was in attendance with Newsom, who at the time, was her boyfriend. “He knew something was off when we were at the SAG Awards and the way Harvey looked at me,” Siebel Newsom said of her husband.

She bumped into Weinstein again at the 2013 Oscars when a film she had produced, “The Invisible War,” was nominated for best documentary feature. The doc is about sexual assault in the military. 

“I was going to say, ‘We have a problem in this industry,’ if I’d gotten on the mic that night,” Newsom said during her testimony. When she saw Weinstein that night, she said hello “to be polite.”

Siebel Newsom saw Weinstein once again at an industry luncheon where was seated at the same table as him. “I was doing my work in the world…telling women’s stories of sexual assault in different industries, places,” she said, explaining why she didn’t leave the event. She said that bumping into Weinstein “made being in the entertainment industry really hard, and not enjoyable.”

After roughly three hours of testimony, cross-examination began with Weinstein’s defense attorney, Mark Werksman, who made a point to repeatedly state her husband’s name — Gov. Gavin Newsom — out loud in front of the jury, during his questioning. (The prosecutor never referred to her husband by name.) 

Werksman brought up Weinstein’s political donations to Newsom’s campaigns, at one point asking Siebel Newsom why her husband took money from somebody who had done “something despicable” to her. “He didn’t know it was bad money until the whole world knew about the #MeToo movement in Oct. 2017?” Werksman asked. “Is that just politics? That you just take money from someone who has done something despicable to your wife, unless everybody finds out about it?” 

Cross-examination will continue Tuesday morning, sure to attract considerable media attention once again. Siebel Newsom’s first day in court created a frenzy Monday, bringing the largest crowd to the Weinstein trial thus far. Many sexual assault accusers of Bill Cosby also attended the hearing, showing up in a group together and lining up early in the morning outside the courtroom to support Siebel Newsom.

The hallways in the courthouse were cleared for Siebel Newsom’s entrance and exit during breaks so that she was shielded from the public. She was accompanied by government security officials in the courtroom. The ninth floor of the downtown criminal courthouse, where Weinstein’s trial is taking place, is a high-security floor with many high-profile cases, including Danny Masterson’s rape trial down the hall. In comparison to the security measures put in place for Siebel Newsom’s privacy and safety, a non-political public figure, like Masterson, does not receive the same heightened measures and walks freely throughout the halls among the public, media and jurors.