Weinstein trial: defense can use email of governor’s wife
LOS ANGELES –
Judges in the Harvey Weinstein trial will be allowed to hear that Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, emailed the movie mogul asking for advice on how to deal with the media amid the controversy. scandal involving Gavin Newsom two years after Weinstein allegedly raped and sexually assaulted her, a judge ruled Monday.
The judge allowed the defense to present evidence about emails sent to Weinstein in 2007, when Gavin Newsom was mayor of San Francisco and was dating Siebel Newsom.
But Judge Lisa B. Lench of Los Angeles Superior Court forbade the defense from discussing the underlying issue behind the email—the revelation of an adulterous relationship Newsom had in 2005 with an aide. Lench calls it “overexposure related to this test.”
Weinstein’s attorney Mark Werksman argued strongly about including details.
“Of all the things you’d think a woman raped by Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t do, it’s ask him how to deal with a sex scandal,” Werksman said.
Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez, arguing for the prosecution, said “I’m not sure how Mr. Werksman knew” how a rape victim would behave.
“They don’t react the way someone who hasn’t been raped would think,” says Martinez.
Werksman argued that the content of the email was essential, and said that for Siebel Newsom and other accusers in the trial, the power dynamic with Weinstein was essential.
“When her boyfriend who’s the mayor seduces an underling’s wife and gets a scandal because of it,” he said, she sided with the mayor and asked the judge to allow that line of questioning to be the right thing to do. necessary to Weinstein’s rights.
The judge argued that the lawyer exaggerated the case by saying that Weinstein’s proceedings were under threat.
“Very dramatic, Mr. Werksman,” Lench said.
Werksman replied, “Sorry for the melodrama.”
Weinstein is accused of raping Siebel Newsom at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2004 or 2005.
In total, he was charged with 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving five women. He is serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault in New York.
Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and actor, began dating Gavin Newsom in 2006 and married him in 2008. He was elected governor in 2018.
The judge also ruled that the prosecution could give jurors a secret recording that another upcoming witness in the trial, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, made by Weinstein with New York police in 2015. In the recording, Weinstein apologized for his behavior earlier. meeting, where she said he touched her thighs and grabbed her breasts.
Police investigated the incident, but prosecutors brought no charges — a decision that came under scrutiny in 2017 when a wave of accusations against Weinstein gave impetus to the .MeToo movement.
“It seems to me that to the extent that it constitutes an admission, it is admissible,” the judge said.
Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson said he could only play a short excerpt of the recording, but after discussion with the defense, it was agreed that he should play the entire 43 minutes of the recording.
Gutierrez, an Italian model, was one of four women allowed to testify at the trial about being sexually abused by Weinstein, although their allegations were not among those he was charged with.
The Associated Press usually doesn’t name people who say they’ve been sexually abused unless they’ve made it public, as Gutierrez did.
Siebel Newsom’s identity was first reported by the Los Angeles Times, and her attorney has told the AP and other news outlets that she is among the women Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting who will testify in court.
After a day and a half of debating what evidence should be heard in the trial, including one in which actor-director Mel Gibson was approved as a prosecution witness, the judge and jurors continued jury selection in the afternoon.
Siebel Newsom has launched again in the process.
“What if I told you the governor’s wife would be one of those witnesses?” Weinstein’s attorney Alan Jackson questioned the jury. “She would, by the way.”
The jury learned this from the jury questionnaire they filled out last week.
When asked if their opinion of the governor or his wife influenced their judgment, no one said they would.
At least five jurors said they had never heard of the .MeToo movement when asked by Thompson.
People with strong emotions had mixed opinions about movement.
One woman said: “I believe in the candid voice of women.
Another woman said she doesn’t have much respect for people who have decided that “after 10 years, this is happening to me too.”
“I think they’re looking for their 15 minutes of fame,” she said.