The judge overseeing Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial in Los Angeles dropped four of the 11 charges against him on Tuesday after prosecutors said that they do not intend to proceed with counts connected to one of the accusers.
The four dropped charges – two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation – were based on accusations from a woman identified as Jane Doe 5. However, prosecutors did not mention her in opening statements when they stated that eight other women were expected to testify in the case against Weinstein.
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to the remaining seven sexual assault charges, including two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault dating from 2004 to 2013.
On Tuesday, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, concluded her testimony and left the courtroom in tears after a tense cross-examination during which Weinstein’s defense attempted to discredit her assault claims her by indicating she did not make clear that she did not consent and by focusing on her continued communication with him afterward.
She testified Monday that Weinstein raped her in a hotel in 2005 when she was 31 years old, and she repeated that assertion during cross-examination.
“Sir, he assaulted me,” she told defense attorney Mark Werksman on Tuesday.
Werksman brought up her past testimony in which she described acquiescing to Weinstein that day and pushed her to define what that word means. Siebel Newsom became emotional and tried to talk but he interrupted her and asked if she was too tired to testify.
“What you’re doing today is exactly what he did to me,” she said.
On Monday, she testified Weinstein invited her to a hotel room to discuss potential film projects and then raped her. When asked why she remained in the hotel suite, she said, “Because you don’t say no to Harvey Weinstein. He could make or ruin your career. I thought I was going to discuss my projects.”
In opening statements, Werksman said Siebel Newsom had consensual sex with Weinstein because she wanted his help getting roles and producing films.
“She’s made herself a prominent victim in the #MeToo movement … otherwise she’d be just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead in Hollywood,” Werksman said.
Siebel Newsom, a Stanford University graduate who has written, directed and produced several documentaries, is one of eight women expected to testify in the trial. Most of the women have testified under pseudonyms, but Siebel Newsom’s attorneys identified her as one of Weinstein’s victims.
Attorney Elizabeth Fegan, who represents the governor’s wife, said in a Tuesday statement her client “demonstrated tremendous strength and resolve in telling her truth and stood fast as Weinstein’s defense team ruthlessly tried to discredit her.”
“Her courage in the face of these harrowing circumstances is admirable,” Fegan said.
The trial in California is Weinstein’s second such sexual assault case since reporting by The New York Times and The New Yorker in 2017 revealed his alleged history of sexual abuse, harassment and secret settlements as he used his influence as a Hollywood power broker to take advantage of young women.
Weinstein was found guilty in 2020 in New York of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He has maintained his innocence, and New York’s highest court agreed in August to hear his appeal in the case.
‘It has been haunting me’
Tense cross-examination began Monday and continued into Tuesday. Siebel Newsom broke down in tears several times as she was asked questions about whether she went to the hotel room intending to have sex with Weinstein and whether she had said no to him.
Werksman homed in on the fact that Siebel Newsom didn’t mention digital penetration in police interviews in 2020, and added she had thought a lot about her testimony.
“You’re putting words in my mouth, sir,” she said. “I offered to talk to detectives initially to support other women, not to be here on the witness stand.”
Werksman focused on that, noting she was the governor’s wife and asked whether she thought her testimony would lead to charges.
“I honestly was just telling my truth and didn’t know what the outcome was gonna be,” Siebel Newsom said.
She explained she had the memories “in a box” and she was slowly sharing things “because it was so painful.”
“It has been haunting me,” she said.
Werksman also focused on why Siebel Newsom continued to stay in touch with Weinstein over email after the alleged assault, suggesting it was not clear through her emails that “this man had done despicable things to you.”
Siebel Newsom responded to the attorney’s questions that she didn’t remember all of the emails and that all of the communication was strictly business.
Siebel Newsom said she felt the communication was necessary for the type of “networking” that the industry required, said she was scared of Weinstein and wanted to be nice to him.
“He was still the most powerful person in Hollywood,” she added. “This is me working, doing my job in the industry, and asking advice from a guy who’s in a position of power.”
Siebel Newsom’s testimony ended in tears after after prosecutor Marlene Martinez asked how she indicated she did not consent.
“I was shaking so much in the couch area and I was definitely crying in the bedroom,” she told the court, adding later, through tears, “I was trembling and I was shaking and I was crying.”
She said she told Weinstein “no,” with her voice and her body.
Martinez then asked if she had consented to penetration and oral sex with Weinstein.
“No! No!” she yelled and began to sob. She was then excused and led out of the courtroom, crying as she walked down from the stand, past the attorneys and out of the room.
CNN’s Steve Almasy and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.