Jury selection for Harvey Weinstein’s long delayed West Coast sex crimes trial begins today, and California’s First Partner is expected to be among the alleged victims to testify.
Identified as Jane Doe #4 in court filings, Jennifer Siebel Newsom will take the stand in Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench’s courtroom sometime over the next 10 weeks.
“Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap,” Siebel Newsom’s attorney Elizabeth Fegan told Deadline in a statement this morning. “She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women,” the FeganScott founding partner, who has represented other Weinstein victims in a now settled civil lawsuit, added. “Please respect her choice to not discuss this matter outside of the courtroom.”
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Weinstein is accused of a forcible rape against the then Jennifer Siebel in Los Angeles County between September 2004 and September 2005, according to court documents.
Representatives for Harvey Weinstein could not be reached for comment. If and when we do contact them, we will update this story. The Los Angeles Times was first to report Siebel Newsom’s participation in the Weinstein’s LA trial.
A long-time documentary filmmaker, as well as an actress prior to her marriage to then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Siebel Newsom detailed being attacked and assaulted by Pulp Fiction producer Weinstein in a 2017 article.
“I was naive, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances ― 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,” she wrote on October 6, 2017 in the Huffington Post right after the New York Times published its vivid expose on Weinstein’s decades of rapes, assaults and career threatening harassment of actress and other women in the entertainment industry.
Weinstein is facing grand jury indictments of four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidents involving five women in L.A. County from 2004 to 2013. Sentenced to 23-years in prison by a Manhattan jury in March 2020 for multiple sex crimes, 70-year old Weinstein is up against 140 years imprisonment if found guilty in L.A.
With jury selection anticipated to last up to two weeks, the trial proper will likely not begin until October 22 or 25, sources on both sides tell Deadline. Once presumed to be less of a media circus than Weinstien’s 2020 NYC sex crimes trial, the LA proceedings are set to last at least two months, with at least five accusers of the incarcerated one-time mogul on schedule to testify.
Unlike the Manhattan trial, Weinstein will not be walking into court every day passed a phalanx of photographers and reporters. Held in DTLA’s Twin Towers Correctional Facility for over a year since being extradited from a state prison outside Buffalo in the summer of 2021, Weinstein will slip in a backdoor each morning, change into a suit and go straight into the heavily regulated courtroom.
As one case plays out on the West Coast, on the East Coast, the much-accused Weinstein’s appeal has begun to move forward in stops and starts. Earlier this summer Janet DiFiore, the chief judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, granted Weinstein the right to appeal his New York case. Oral arguments on whether the producer received a fair trial two years ago will commence in early 2023, DiFiore ruled. Which means, if bail is granted in the New York case, Harvey Weinstein could suddenly be sprung from prison in LA as his trial out here continues.
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