Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys said on Thursday that Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California governor Gavin Newsom lied about being raped by him because she can’t “square away” the fact that they had “transactional” sex.
The defense attorney Alan Jackson said during the sexual assault trial that Siebel Newsom put on an “overly dramatic” performance on the witness stand to mask her shame over having consensual sex with Weinstein.
Jackson said in his closing argument at the Los Angeles Superior Court that Siebel Newsom had lied about her 2005 sexual encounter with Weinstein at a Beverly Hills hotel despite her education and “refinement” in order to “cope” with a choice she’s not proud of.
Jackson told the jurors, “She may regret the transactional sex, but regret is far from rape. She took the decision to date Harvey, and it worked out well for her… That’s the definition of transactional sex and she hates it.”
Siebel Newsom testified that Weinstein lured her to his hotel room under the pretense that they would be discussing a movie role. She stated that she concurred because Weinstein had the power to “make or wreck your career” at that time.
She described how Weinstein, 70, first inserted his fingers into her vagina before inserting his “deformed” penis, which she described as “kind of fish-like.”
When Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez asked Siebel Newsom if she intended to have sex with the producer that night in 2005, she sobbed and screamed “no” several times. Siebel was one of four women who testified that Weinstein had sexually assaulted them during the trial. She claimed to have “put in a box” the horrifying memories of the rape, but on occasion it would come out in rage.
When defense attorney Mark Werksman peppered Siebel Newsom with questions concerning details of her prior testimony, she replied: “What you’re doing today is exactly what he did to me.”
Jackson blasted Siebel Newsom on Thursday for disrespecting his co-counsel’s line of questioning.
“How can you say something like that. She dares to compare that to an aggressive rape. There are some women who have experienced violent rape. She staged the entire act to portray herself as the victim of her own decisions,” Jackson said.
Jackson claimed that Siebel Newsom gave a “performance of a lifetime” when testifying in court and repeatedly lied to the jurors in the trial.
Jackson pointed out how, despite being allegedly violently raped by Weinstein, Siebel Newsom continued to email him for meetings and asked for potential movie roles she could audition for. The #MeToo movement, which has taken down Weinstein and other prominent men accused of sexual misconduct, is referenced in his assertion that Siebel Newsom only came out against Weinstein when it “became trendy” and to “join a movement.”
A collage of more than a dozen emails was also presented by the defense; in one of such emails, she begged for Weinstein’s advice on how to handle negative headlines pertaining to a scandal involving her then-boyfriend Gavin Newsom, who had an earlier affair with an aide.
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There were a lot of emails asking for support for her husband’s candidacy as well.
“She repeatedly sought his company,” Jackson said. “When it doesn’t seem well for her, she alters the facts or claims she can’t recall. Everything [in regards to her memories] is still ‘in a box.’ I have no idea where that box is, but perhaps she will discover the truth within,” Jackson added.
Weinstein has entered a not guilty plea to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault against four women. If found guilty, he could spend up to 140 years in prison.