US: Jennifer Siebel Newsom, actor married to California governor, breaks down in tears at Harvey Weinstein's rape trial

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and actor who is married to California Gov. Gavin Newsom, broke down crying Monday at Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes trial, where she is testifying as one of the disgraced movie producer’s accusers.

  Jennifer Siebel Newsom, actor married to California governor, breaks down in tears at Harvey Weinstein's rape trial © Provided by NBC News

Siebel Newsom, known in the Los Angeles courtroom as “Jane Doe #4” but identified by her real name to NBC News, testified that she first met Weinstein at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2005, when she was an actor with a few movie and television credits to her name. (NBC News does not name sexual assault victims unless they have identified themselves publicly.)

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She said that Weinstein approached her at a hotel and that other people backed away “like the Red Sea was parting — I don’t know if it was deference or fear.” She said he wanted to know who she was and why she was there, recalling that she felt “intimidated” and “flattered.”

Weinstein asked to meet up with her later, and she agreed in part because she “felt like there was a genuine interest in talking about my work,” she said. When they got together at a hotel bar, she testified, Weinstein was “really focused on telling me I was special and I was different.”

Siebel Newsom broke into tears on the witness stand when prosecutors asked her whether she saw Weinstein in the courtroom. She replied yes and went on to say, “He’s wearing a suit and a blue tie, and he’s staring at me.”

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Weinstein is on trial five years after The New York Times and The New Yorker first published explosive investigations into allegations of a pattern of sexual misconduct. The stories inspired a wider reckoning with abuses of power in entertainment and other high-profile industries.

In an essay for HuffPost published a day after The New York Times ran its first exposé, Siebel Newsom accused Weinstein of “aggressive advances” but did not provide more specific details.

Weinstein, who once lorded over Hollywood as a powerful film producer before he became a focal point of the #MeToo movement, is charged with 11 counts of rape and sexual assault. He has pleaded not guilty.

He is already serving a 23-year sentence for a rape conviction in New York, the former home of his defunct studio, The Weinstein Company.

Prosecutors have accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting five women in separate incidents from 2004 to 2013. The trial centers on four counts of rape and seven counts of sexual assault. The women will be identified during the proceedings as Jane Does 1 through 5.

Gavin Newsom's wife breaks down in tears as she takes the stand in Harvey Weinstein trial over rape allegations: 'He's staring at me'

  Gavin Newsom's wife breaks down in tears as she takes the stand in Harvey Weinstein trial over rape allegations: 'He's staring at me' Siebel Newsom claims Weinstein raped her in a hotel room shortly after they met in 2005, when she was working as an actress.Weinstein — who is already serving a 23-year sentence after a separate trial in New York — is currently standing trial in LA on 11 counts of sexual assault, stemming from the allegations of five different women who say he abused them in hotels between 2004 and 2013. Weinstein denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.

The trial in Los Angeles took on higher stakes for prosecutors this summer after the New York State Court of Appeals agreed in August to allow Weinstein to appeal his conviction there on a count of third-degree rape and a count of first-degree criminal sexual act.

If the New York conviction is upheld, Weinstein would serve the rest of his 23-year sentence. If it is overturned, his fate would hinge on the outcome of his Los Angeles trial. If he is convicted in Los Angeles, he could face life in prison in California.

It was unclear whether Weinstein’s lawyers would call him to testify. He is not being represented by the legal team that ran his defense in New York, where the trial revolved around allegations from former aspiring actress Jessica Mann and former “Project Runway” model Mimi Haley.

In the case of Jane Doe #4, he is accused of forcible oral copulation and forcible rape from Sept. 1, 2004, to Sept. 30, 2005, according to court documents.

In the 1990s and the 2000s, Weinstein and his younger brother, Bob, were titans of the movie business, producing seminal independent films like “Pulp Fiction” and distributing the Oscar-winning dramas “The English Patient,” “Shakespeare in Love” and “The King’s Speech.”

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Weinstein styled himself as a pugnacious kingmaker. He battled with directors, stormed into editing rooms and campaigned for Academy Awards with ruthless zeal. In a town that revolves around big egos, Weinstein’s towered over the competition.

His reign came crashing down in October 2017 after women started going on the record with stories of sexual abuse. In all, more than 100 women have come forward with allegations stretching back decades.

He has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

The journalistic investigation into Weinstein’s behavior is the subject of a movie that will be released midway through the trial, on Friday.  “She Said” chronicles the work of two New York Times reporters played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan. (The film will be released by Universal Pictures, a unit of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

Weinstein’s lawyers, arguing that publicity for the movie would prejudice the jury against their client, requested a delayed start to the trial. The judge rejected the bid.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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