Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and actress who is married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, is among the accusers of Harvey Weinstein, who will testify in his rape and sexual assault trial that begins Monday, her attorney said.
Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at an alleged business meeting, which turned out to be a trap,” Elizabeth Fegan, Newsom’s attorney, said in a statement.
“She intends to testify at his trial to seek some degree of justice for survivors and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women.”
Weinstein, the 70-year-old former film mogul who is serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted in New York, has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving Newsom and four other women.
They will all testify as Jane Doe during the eight-week trial in a Los Angeles court, where jury selection began Monday.
Newsom has agreed to be identified through her attorney.
Newsom, 48, appeared in small roles in dozens of films and television shows between 2002 and 2011.
She has recently directed documentaries including 2020’s The Great American Lie and this year’s Fair Play. Both deal with gender in society.
She wrote about her experience with Weinstein in a 2017 Huffington Post essay after The New York Times and New York Stories made him a magnet for the MeToo movement, but gave few details.
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Weinstein, who is being held in a Los Angeles jail, was brought into court in a wheelchair through a side door and carefully climbed into a seat next to one of his attorneys at the defense table.
He wore a blue suit, which he is allowed to change from his prison garb during the trial.
He stood with the rest of the room as the first panel of 67 potential jurors was brought in, but sat down about halfway through the trial. He waved to them from his seat as his lawyers introduced them.
The jury was given a lengthy questionnaire to sort out those who should be released.
Both the questions and the answers on the forms are private, but previous hearings on their content found they included questions about how much media coverage of Weinstein they’ve seen and whether they formed an opinion from it, although the judge had questions about certain stories and media companies.
Prosecutors are allowed to use portions of Weinstein’s New York rape and sexual assault conviction as evidence.
The questionnaire also includes a question about a California law that says testimony from a sexual assault victim alone can be sufficient evidence for a conviction if a jury believes them.
The jury was also given a long list of names of witnesses at the upcoming trial, including the names of the accusers, to determine if they had any connection to them.
The original witness list in the case had more than 270 names, although fewer than half are expected. Most of the potential witness list has not been released.
One witness, Barbara Schneeweiss, a producer on Project Runway and other television shows, was present in court and was instructed by a judge to come at any time.
Two other panels with up to 75 jurors will be consulted on Tuesday and Wednesday. Individual juror questioning is not expected to begin until next week, and opening statements may not begin for another two weeks.
The trial comes five years after women stories about Weinstein exploded the MeToo movement.
Weinstein is accused of four counts of rape and seven other counts of sexual assault.
Most of the alleged incidents, like Newsom’s, occurred under the guise of business meetings at luxury hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that Weinstein used as his California headquarters, where he could be seen during awards season and throughout the year.
Four of them allegedly happened during Oscars week in 2013, when Weinstein released the Silver Linings Playbook and Django Unchained would win Oscars.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/celebrity-news/california-governors-wife-among-accusers-at-weinstein-trial-42055912.html The California governor’s wife among the prosecutors in the Weinstein trial