Harvey Weinstein’s defense is allowed to show jurors an email sent to him from Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of California Governor Gavin Newsom, asking for his advice on how to handle a sex scandal.
The email was sent in 2007, about two years after the first partner of California claimed Weinstein allegedly raped her.
Weinstein’s lawyers plan on using the email as proof that Siebel Newsom and the disgraced film producer were on good terms when it was sent.
“Of all things you’d think a woman that is raped by Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t do, it’s [ask him] how to deal with a sex scandal,” Weinstein’s lawyer Mark Werksman said, according to Variety.
The sex scandal Siebel Newsom was embroiled in stemmed from when her then-boyfriend, Newsom, admitted to having an affair with his campaign manager’s wife. Newsom was the mayor of San Francisco at the time.
According to the email, Siebel Newsom asked Weinstein for advice on how to deal with “bad press” surrounding Newsom’s transgressions. She also called the woman a “culprit” in the affair.
Just last week, the Los Angeles Times identified Siebel Newsom as Jane Doe 4 in the Weinstein case. According to a criminal indictment, Jane Doe 4 accused Weinstein of forcible rape that happened between September 2004 and September 2005.
While jurors are allowed to hear about the email, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench ruled that Weinstein’s defense can’t ask Siebel Newsom for details. The judge claimed it was “too tangential in relation to this trial.”
“The fact that she comes to Mr. Weinstein for that advice indicates the friendship and companionship of Jane Doe 4 and Mr. Weinstein,” he continued. “The defense will be that they had an affair, that they had consensual sex.”
Weinstein’s defense argued that the details behind the email should be included as it is essential to “Weinstein’s rights.”
“Very dramatic, Mr. Werksman, in terms of violating your client’s due process rights,” Lench said.
“Forgive the melodrama your honor,” Werksman responded. He later apologized again for being “melodramatic.”
However, the prosecution argued that Siebel Newsom’s personal life isn’t relevant to the case.
“I’m not sure how Mr. Werksman knows how a rape victim would behave,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez said. “They do not react in a matter how someone who has not been raped would think.”
“He was the person everyone looked to see how to deal with a bad press situation,” further argued Martinez on why Siebel Newsom reached out to Weinstein.
Siebel Newsom is a documentary filmmaker and actress. She and the now-governor dated in 2006 and married in 2008. The couple has four children together. Newsom became the governor of California in 2018.
Weinstein is facing 11 counts of sexual assault against five women between 2004 to 2013. He is already serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of rape and sexual assault in his New York trial in 2020.
If convicted in Los Angeles, he faces up to 140 years behind bars.