There is a new twist in the sex-crimes trial of Harvey Weinstein as the defence lawyers claim that the film producer had "consensual sex" with Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
Jurors will get to hear that the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom emailed Weinstein for advice about dealing with the media amid a scandal involving her husband, who was her then-boyfriend, two years after the movie magnate allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her.
The judge gave permission to the defense to introduce evidence of the email sent to Weinstein in 2007, when Gavin Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco. But Judge Lisa B. Lench, of Los Angeles Superior Court, forbade the defense from discussing the underlying issue behind the email. The so-called underlying issue was an affair that Newsom had in 2005 with the wife of an aide, which Lench described as "too tangible in relation to this trial".
However, the defense attorney Mark Werksman argued for the inclusion of the details. He said that of all things one would think a woman that is raped by Harvey Weinstein wouldn't do is to ask him how to deal with a sex scandal. But Marlene Martinez, the deputy district attorney, pointed out that it's unsure how Werksman knows how a rape victim would behave. "They don't react the way someone who has not been raped would think," he said.
A judge gave Weinstein's defense the greenlight to introduce the email but can't question Siebel Newsom about its details. The defense intends to use the email as proof that Siebel Newsom was on "friendly terms" with Weinstein, which they emphasize wouldn't have been the case if their client had assaulted her. "The fact that she comes to Weinstein for that advice indicates the friendship and companionship of Jane Doe 4 and Weinstein," Werksman said. "The defense will be that they had an affair, that they had consensual sex."
It should be noted that Jennifer Siebel Newsom has long been identified as Jane Doe #4 in court documents. Werksman believes the contents of the email are essential. He said for Siebel Newsom and other accusers in the trial, the power dynamic with Weinstein was essential.
Siebel Newsom a.k.a Jane Doe 4
Before becoming the first partner of California, Siebel Newsom was a documentary filmmaker and actor. She starred in Mad Men and She's Out of His Mind. Siebel Newsom has also produced several documentary films such as The Invisible War (2012), The Great American Lie and The Mask You Live In (2015).
She initially brought up her experience with the disgraced Hollywood producer in a 2017 article after the publication of a New York Times expose detailing Weinstein's decades of vile behaviour. Elizabeth Fegan, Siebel Newsom's attorney, said she plans to testify at his trial to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life's work to improve the lives of women.
The executive producer of 47 Meters Down is facing grand jury charges on four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, and one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery in incidences involving five women from 2004-2013. A Manhattan jury, in March 2020, sentenced Weinstein to 23 years in prison for multiple sex crimes. He faces a maximum of 140 years imprisonment if found guilty.