The expected personal attacks on Jen Siebel Newsom are even more personal than expected in the Weinstein rape trial, with Weinstein’s attorney calling her “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead" before a judge and a jury.
In the current Harvey Weinstein rape trial in Los Angeles (he was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years in a separate 2020 Manhattan trial), the disgraced former Hollywood mogul now faces 12 criminal counts including rape, sexual assault, and forcible oral copulation from five different women. Most of these accusers are remaining anonymous, but we learned earlier this month that California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom was identifying herself as one of the accusers. And because of her husband Governor Gavin Newsom’s name recognition (and personal baggage-ridden track record), we would expected Amber Heard 2.0-style attacks from Weinstein’s defense against that couple.
But we did not expect Weinstein’s attorney to say, in a courtroom before a judge and a jury, that Siebel Newsom was “just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead.” Yet Variety reports that is exactly what happened in opening statements on Monday.
The prosecution’s argument was obviously more sympathetic to the five accusers, Siebel Newsom being one of two who has identified herself. “Each of these women came forward independent of each other, and none of them knew one another,” Los Angeles County deputy district attorney Paul Thompson told the court. In explaining why they waited until after the 2017 #MeToo revelations to lodge their charges, he said, “They feared that he could crush their careers if they reported what he had done to them.”
Weinstein attorney Paul Werksman said the encounters were all consensual, calling Weinstein’s alleged 2005 rape of Siebel Newsom “Transactional sex,” and added, “Everyone did it. He did it. They did it.” Of Siebel Newsom, he said she was a “Hollywood wannabe” and if she were not married to Gavin Newsom, “She’d be just another bimbo who slept with Harvey Weinstein to get ahead.”
Werksman also made hay of the fact that Gavin Newsom had taken campaign donations from Weinstein, and that the couple attended one of Weinstein’s parties in 2007 while Newsom was still mayor of San Francisco. “She brought her husband to meet and party with her rapist. Who does that?” Werksman told the court. “He took money from his wife’s rapist for his political campaigns.”
Is Paul Werksman a good attorney? Like, is calling a woman who claims she’s a rape victim a “bimbo” any way to win an acquittal? Well, per the AP, the jury is nine men and three women, so maybe that’s Werksman’s calculus. The trial is expected to last about two months, so we’ll see if that tactic is effective. And we’ll probably see more stunningly low blows toward the victims during these proceedings.
Image: LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom speaks at the 4th Annual Women's March LA: Women Rising at Pershing Square on January 18, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images)