Harvey Weinstein defense questions Jennifer Siebel Newsom over political emails and donations in combative cross-examination
Harvey Weinsteinlawyers pulled out a binder of emails during questioning Jennifer Siebel Newsom regarding his testimony on to be sexually assaulted by the fallen movie producer. California’s first partner is a key witness in Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles, having accused Weinstein of rape.
Throughout the controversial and combative cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney, Mark Werksman, spent at least two hours posting dozens of emails for the jury that featured Siebel Newsom arranging business meetings with Weinstein. , asking her to provide advice and seek political donations for her husband, Calif. Governor Gavin Newsom.
Weinstein’s defense argued that the emails between Siebel Newsom and Weinstein showed she voluntarily continued to communicate with her attacker after his arrest. allegedly raped in 2005. In response, Siebel Newsom explained that she stayed in touch with Weinstein after the alleged assault in 2005 because “he was still the most powerful person in the business,” so she wanted to keep a cordial relationship.
“I was scared of him, but I was trying to be nice,” Siebel Newsom said, explaining that she wanted to “act like nothing happened in my head” to “take back control.” “I know it doesn’t make sense… But if you haven’t been traumatized, it doesn’t make sense.”
As Weinstein’s lawyer flipped through pages of emails, Siebel Newsom repeatedly said she didn’t remember sending any emails, but acknowledged she probably did. . “It’s so funny. My life is so full. I don’t remember,” she said. “I send so many emails, I have so many friends, so many knowledge. It’s just business. It’s just networking.
“I’ve sent hundreds of thousands of emails to people all over the world,” Siebel Newsom added. Werksman replied, “But only one is charged with despicable acts.”
One of the emails sent by Siebel Newsom was an invitation to a fundraising event for Newsom during his time as mayor of San Francisco. Siebel Newsom explained that she often sent emails to large groups of people including various producers, directors, writers, agents and executives, without necessarily realizing that Weinstein was part of this group.
“It’s a long list of people,” she said. “I was trying to help my boyfriend, almost my husband,” she said of Newsom, adding, “Weinstein was a big Democratic donor.”
Another time, while the couple was in New York for the Clinton Global Initiative, Siebel Newsom emailed Weinstein asking if he was available to catch up. “It was political,” she explained.
During cross-examination, Weinstein’s attorney insisted on repeating her husband’s name out loud to the jury. (By comparison, the prosecutor never referred to her husband by name.) Werksman brought up Weinstein’s political donations to Newsom, at one point asking why her husband took money from someone who had done “something despicable” to him.
“He didn’t know it was bad money until the whole world found out about the #MeToo movement in October 2017?” asked the lawyer. “Is this just politics? That you just took money from someone who did something despicable to your wife, unless everyone knew about it? »
In various emails sent in the months following the alleged assault in 2005, Siebel Newsom messaged Weinstein asking him to meet for business purposes. In a 2006 email, she said she would “love to catch up” at the Toronto International Film Festival. Later, she emailed to arrange a meeting at the Cannes Film Festival. In another email sent in 2007, she thanked Weinstein for inviting her and her husband to an Oscar party. She also invited Weinstein to a screening of one of her films and asked him to “keep your eyes and ears open for all the roles.”
“I was just pushing [and] networking,” said Siebel Newsom. Weinstein’s lawyer fired back: “You were shoving the man you say violently raped you?”
Werksman began her cross-examination by probing Siebel Newsom’s memory of the alleged events, asking her why she omitted certain details in various interviews with detectives, only to mention them later in interviews or testimony.
“I had everything in a box, and I slowly shared a little at a time because it’s so painful,” she said.
On Tuesday, there were frequent interruptions and moments when Weinstein’s lawyer and Siebel Newsom spoke to each other, prompting the judge to ask them to speak one after the other. “Your energy is so intense,” Siebel Newsom said at one point, laughing. She frequently smiled and politely used the word “sir” when speaking to Werksman, but frequently told Weinstein’s attorney that he was “putting words” in his mouth and taking his statements “out of context.”
“I feel like you’re jumping all over the place,” Siebel Newsom said. Werksman replied, “Well, I feel like I’m asking you questions and you’re not answering.”
At one point, Siebel Newsom took a deep breath and had to pull herself together on the stand, noting that she was tired from the long interrogation session. Werksman replied sarcastically, “Oh, are you too tired to testify?” She started crying and said, “Sir, what you are doing today is exactly what he did to me.”
After the lengthy cross-examination, prosecutor Marlene Martinez questioned Siebel Newsom again. She asked why she emailed Weinstein over the years, asking, “In those emails, were you flirting?” “Nope!” Siebel Newsom responded by bursting into tears. The assistant district attorney also asked about the alleged rape, asking, “Have you ever asked to have sex?” “Did you consent?” The series of questions left Siebel Newsom emotional, crying from the booth and using tissues to wipe her eyes. Once she was excused Tuesday night, Siebel Newsom left the courtroom sobbing.
Governor Newsom was at the courthouse both days to support his wife, a source close to Siebel Newsom said. Variety. The governor had intended to sit inside the courtroom for the entirety of his testimony, but the court wouldn’t allow him to sit in the gallery – which likely wouldn’t distract the jurors.
After two days on the stand, Siebel Newsom’s attorney, Elizabeth Fegan, released a statement to Varietyapplauding his client for her resistance to Weinstein’s defense team.
“Over the past few days, my client, Jane Doe #4, has made the very difficult and painful decision to go public with her sexual assault at the hands of Harvey Weinstein. She knew it might have been easier to keep Buried the memory of her assault in 2005, but she couldn’t She felt obligated to herself, her family and, most importantly, to the women who came forward, as well as the women unable to s ‘express publicly,” said Fegan, managing partner of the Chicago-based law firm FeganScott. “Throughout her testimony, she displayed extraordinary strength and resolve to speak the truth and held firm as Weinstein’s defense team ruthlessly tried to discredit her. His courage in the face of these heartbreaking circumstances is admirable.
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