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Jennifer Siebel Newsom Emailed Weinstein for Advice Amid Gavin Newsom Cheating Scandal in 2007

Harvey Weinstein Claudia Salinas
ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When Jennifer Siebel Newsom was caught in the midst of a sex scandal in 2007, she reached out to Harvey Weinstein for help.

Siebel Newsom, who was identified by the L.A. Times as Jane Doe 4 last week, emailed Weinstein in 2007, two years after he allegedly raped her, seeking advice for how to handle “bad press” when then-boyfriend Gavin Newsom admitted to having an affair with his campaign manager’s wife. Siebel Newsom defended Newsom — who was the mayor of San Francisco at the time and is now governor of California — and made disparaging comments about the woman, calling her the “culprit” in the affair.

A judge ruled on Monday that Weinstein’s defense can introduce the email but can’t question Siebel Newsom about its details.

“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.

The defense plans to use the email as proof that Siebel Newsom was on friendly terms with Weinstein, which they argue wouldn’t have been the case if he had assaulted her.

“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.”

Werksman suggested that being barred from introducing the contents of the email would violate Weinstein’s rights.

“Very dramatic, Mr. Werksman, in terms of violating your client’s due process rights,” Judge Lisa B. Lench said.

“Forgive the melodrama your honor,” Werksman responded. He apologized again later for being “melodramatic.”

The prosecution argued that Siebel Newsom’s personal life has no relevance to the case.

“I’m not sure how Mr. Werksman knows how a rape victim would behave,” Deputy District Attorney Marlene Martinez responded. “They do not react in a matter how someone who has not been raped would think.”

Martinez argued that she merely reached out to him because “he was the person everyone looked to see how to deal with a bad press situation.”

“They’re trying to whitewash and inoculate their client from tough questioning,” Werksman countered.

Lench said the defense can reference the email and allude to a personal matter but not mention the California governor.

“The underlying dynamics between her and her then-boyfriend, and the way it was portrayed is too tangential and I’m not going to allow it,” Lench ruled.

When Werksman pleaded further, suggesting the jury will assume the email was regarding a movie role or “some humdrum entertainment industry stuff,” the judge said the defense can note that the issue was unrelated to the entertainment industry.

Earlier in the morning, the judge sided with the defense and won’t allow a tweet Siebel Newsom sent about Malia Obama, former president Barack Obama’s oldest daughter, to be presented as evidence.

Siebel Newsom wrote, “I don’t know why this is being celebrated,” regarding Malia Obama getting an internship at The Weinstein Company. “She will probably just be assaulted,” she tweeted.

“It is snarky, but it is snarky because she had been raped, and she wanted to let the public know,” Martinez argued.

“There is nothing that relates the tweet to anything that happens to her,” Lench ruled.

During the jury-selection portion of the day in the afternoon, prospective jurors were asked if they could impartially judge “the governor’s wife” when she took the stand.

One juror said, without elaborating, that he might not be able to be fair to Siebel Newsom as a witness.

Others, including a man who works for SAG-AFTRA, feared that the trial verdict could affect their livelihoods.

“In my work environment, I deal with domestic violence every day. It would be very hard,” one juror said. “Some co-workers are very expressive. It would be hard for me to walk in there every day.”

“You’d be judged?” Jackson asked.

“Absolutely. And not only that, my household is comprised mostly of women, of girls, who are very expressive,” she added. “It would be very detrimental, very challenging.”

The prosecution dedicated a lot of its time to asking jurors about their opinions of #MeToo.  

At least five jurors said they’d never heard the term or movement before they saw it on the jury questionnaire. 

One juror said women shouldn’t look back on what happened in the past with a present-day lens. “You don’t wait 10 years and say, ‘This happened to me.’ I think people are looking for their 15 minutes of fame.”

Another juror said the movement “introduces opportunities and motivation to abuse the system.”

Others took issue with prosecuting a crime that happened more than eight years ago. 

Weinstein is facing 11 counts of sexual assault against five women from 2004 to 2013. The former mogul 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.