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Harvey Weinstein L.A. Rape Trial: In Opening Statement, Prosecutor Details Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s Claim Of Sexual Assault

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A Los Angeles prosecutor told jurors on Monday that multiple accusers will provide graphic and violent accounts of being sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, as the producer faced his second criminal trial.

In his opening statement, Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson did not directly name the women accusers, but identified one of them as the wife of California governor Gavin Newsom. The attorney for Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a California filmmaker, had already said that she would be among those to testify during the trial.

Thompson described to the jury Siebel Newsom’s account of being raped by Weinstein, having been lured to his hotel room with the promise of career assistance in 2005.

At the time, Thompson said, Siebel Newsom was “a powerless actor trying to make her way in Hollywood,” when she met the producer at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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That eventually led to Weinstein’s invite to the Peninsula Hotel to “discuss her career,” what she assumed would be at the hotel’s restaurant. But she was informed by Weinstein’s aide that the meeting instead would be in his hotel suite, and she assumed that some of his employees also would also be there.

According to Thompson, Siebel Newsom went to the hotel room and sat on a couch to wait for him. Wearing business attire, he entered with five or six other people, but they left, much to her surprise, Thompson said.

“She was nervous and uncertain of how to navigate this situation with one of the most powerful people in Hollywood,” Thompson said.

They spoke, then he went to the restroom. That is when he summoned her, and she found him in his bathrobe.

“She was shocked, and her mind raced,” Thompson said.

Weinstein then asked her to touch him, and after she refused, he moved toward her and referred to “a list of A-list actresses whose careers he supposedly made, and his voice moved from pleading to aggressive and demanding,” Thompson said.

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The prosecutor said that Siebel Newsom was crying and shaking when Weinstein forced her to the bed.

“She couldn’t get any words out because of her fear,” he said.

Weinstein then told her to “relax” and that “this is going to make her feel better.” He then went down on her without her consent and forcibly raped her, Thompson said.

Siebel Newsom met Gavin Newsom about a year after the alleged assault, but she did not tell him about it, according to the prosecutor. They sometimes saw Weinstein through the years, as he was a major contributor to Democratic politicians and gave money to Gavin Newsom. Siebel Newsom did confide to a friend, actress Daphne Zuniga, about the assault in 2005, and told another friend she had been raped by “somebody high up in the food chain” in the entertainment industry.

In his opening statement, Thompson also ran through the accounts of other accusers, highlighting some of the commonalities in Weinstein’s behavior, but telling the jury that “each of these women came forward independent of each other, and none of them knew one another.” He displayed photos of the women on a screen near the jury box.

Thompson also said that most of the victims also would describe “unique things” about Weinstein’s body, referring to his genitalia. Weinstein had surgery for an infection in 1999 that caused scarring. None of the women “will describe his anatomy perfectly, but most of them will be able to describe these abnormalities that they observed during the assaults.”

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Weinstein denies the charges, and has contended that his sexual relations with accusers was by their consent. His attorneys will present their opening argument later on Monday.

Weinstein, 70, has pleaded not guilty on eleven sexual assault charges that involve claims of five women between 2004 and 2013. In court records, the accusers have been identified as Jane Does, but some women, like Siebel Newsom, have come forward. Thompson identified four accusers during the opening arguments, and it was not immediately clear whether a fifth would testify.

A jury of nine men and three women is hearing the Los Angeles case, following about two weeks of jury selection. The trial is expected to last until late November.

Weinstein was convicted in 2020 on charges of rape and criminal sexual acts, and he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He was granted an appeal by New York’s highest court in August, raising the chance that his conviction in that state will be overturned.

Weinstein, who had been transferred to Los Angeles county jail to await the second trial, faces a maximum sentence of more than 100 years in prison if convicted of the additional charges. The grand jury charges are for four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, one count of sexual penetration by use of force, plus one count of sexual battery by restraint and sexual battery.

At the Los Angeles court on Monday, Weinstein wore a black suit, blue tie and glasses as he was brought to the courtroom in a wheelchair, seated at the right edge of the defense table.

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As they did in the New York trial, his attorneys already have indicated that they plan to introduce evidence that Siebel Newsom communicated with Weinstein about two years after the alleged assault, including an email in which she sought his media advice as Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, faced the disclosure that he had an affair with the wife of one of his aides.

Judge Lisa Lench ruled that the email could be introduced, but under limited circumstances. She said that the details of the email were “too tangential in relation to this trial.”

Shortly after The New York Times first reported on accusers’ allegations against Weinstein, triggering the MeToo movement and cultural reckoning over sexual harassment and assault, Siebel Newsom wrote a Huffington Post op ed in October, 2017. She wrote that “however many hotel robe-wearing incidents, private conversations, and settlements later, it is clear that his behavior was not just widespread, but also well documented.” Her attorney said earlier this month, “Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap.”

The account of Monday’s proceedings was provided via a pool report.

Thompson also indicated to jurors that four “prior bad acts” witnesses also would testify with their own claims, which fall outside the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles court. That includes the account of model Ambra Gutierrez, identified in court as Ambra B., who went to the New York police with her allegations that Weinstein grabbed her breast and put his hand up her skirt during a meeting in his office in 2015. Thompson played the recordings she made of conversations with Weinstein afterward, as New York police listened in to him attempt to entice her back to his hotel room.

“Setting aside Ambra, the other seven women did not disclose his assaults” until after 2017, when the Times and then New Yorker stories ran.

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The first witness scheduled to testify — Jane Doe 1 — was described as a model and actress who lived in Italy but came to Los Angeles in mid-February, 2013, to attend the Los Angeles Italia Film Festival and then the Oscars.

Thompson said that Jane Doe 1 would describe being at her hotel, having returned from the festival event, when Weinstein showed up at her room unannounced. He had been making noise so she opened the door and he barged in and sat down on her couch. She asked him to leave, but he pulled at her robe and grabbed her breasts, Thompson said, then dropped his pants, climbed in the bed and began masturbating. He grabbed her by the hair and pulled him onto the bed, and forced her to orally copulate him and told him to “suck her” before reaching under her robe and digitally penetrating her.

Jane Doe 1 then started crying and “tried to show him pictures of her kids,” but he pulled her into the bathroom, pushed her over the sink and raped her, Thompson claimed.

She went back to the festival the next day and posted to social media, but that was “part of her job,” Thompson said. He said that “even though she felt horrible inside she continued to work that week.” He said that she told her daughter about the alleged assault in 2017, but that was before the Times and New Yorker pieces on Weinstein were published. After those stories, she filed a complaint with the LAPD in October, 2017.



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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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