Judge Drops 4 of 11 Counts Against Harvey Weinstein

Charges involved 'Jane Doe #5'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 15, 2022 5:05 PM CST
Updated Nov 15, 2022 7:38 PM CST
Judge Drops 4 of 11 Counts Against Harvey Weinstein
In this courtroom artist sketch, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a documentary filmmaker and the wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, testifies at the trial of Harvey Weinstein in Los Angeles, Monday, Nov. 14, 2022.   (Bill Robles via AP)

This story has been updated with Siebel Newsom's Tuesday testimony. The judge at the Los Angeles trial of Harvey Weinstein dropped four of the 11 sexual assault charges against the former movie mogul Tuesday after prosecutors said they would not proceed with the counts involving one of his accusers. Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench dismissed two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation against the 70-year-old Weinstein. The move had appeared likely since the trial's opening statements three weeks ago, when prosecutors only mentioned four women Weinstein was charged with assaulting, leaving out the accuser identified in an indictment as Jane Doe #5, the AP reports.

The prosecutors at first kept the charges in place and left open the possibility that the woman would testify, while Weinstein's defense had sought a definitive decision on the issue. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has not explained why they opted to leave the woman out of the trial. The remaining charges against Weinstein, who is serving a 23-year sentence for a conviction in New York, are two counts of rape and five other sexual assault counts. He has pleaded not guilty and has said he didn't engage in non-consensual sex. Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, testified Monday that Weinstein raped her in 2005. Siebel Newsom, who is going by the name Jane Doe #4 at the trial, will now be the last of four women Weinstein is charged with assaulting to testify.

Siebel Newsom faced cross-examination from one of Harvey Weinstein's attorneys Tuesday about why her description of a 2005 encounter during which she says the filmmaker raped her has expanded since she first spoke with prosecutors, reports the AP. She explained that the new elements of her testimony, some of which she said under oath for the first time on Monday, were a result of having more time to process what happened. "As we’ve gotten closer to this, and it’s gotten more real, my need to clarify and be more detailed” has increased, Siebel Newsom said. "I had everything in a box, and I've been slowly sharing a little bit at a time, because this is so painful."

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As Weinstein lawyer Mark Werksman—who says Siebel Newsom had consensual sex with Weinstein to advance her acting career—kept returning to transcripts of her initial conversations with prosecutors in 2020, Siebel Newsom said that she did not think her initial conversations with police and prosecutors would lead to charges. "I offered to talk to detectives initially to support other women, not to be up here on the witness stand," she said. Siebel Newsom said she thought her allegations were likely to be beyond the statute of limitations. "I honestly was just telling my truth and I didn't know what the outcome was going to be," she testified.

(More Harvey Weinstein stories.)

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