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Harvey Weinstein’s Rape Trial Defense Lawyer Attacks Jennifer Siebel Newsom, DA In Closing Argument

“Regret is not the same thing as rape, and it’s important we make that distinction in this courtroom,” Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney Alan Jackson said Thursday of Jennifer Siebel Newsom during his closing argument in the much-accused Weinstein’s Los Angeles sex crime trial.

Calling Weinstein’s alleged 2005 assault of Newsom in Beverly Hills’ Peninsula Hotel “consensual, transactional sex” between an ambitious filmmaker-actress and a powerful producer, Jackson further mocked Newsom, aka Jane Doe #4, in language that seemed to intentionally alienate any notion of empathy, saying, “Jane Doe #4 cannot square in her mind the idea that she’s a successful, well educated, well-bred refined woman who had consensual sex with Harvey Weinstein in exchange for opportunity and access.”

First revealing a long-ago encounter with Weinstein just days after the New York Times dropped its detailed exposé about the Oscar winner in late 2017, Newsom, who did not marry then-San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom until 2008, has always maintained that she was attacked against her will by the producer 17 years ago.

“I could tell he just needed, he was so determined, just so scary, just all about him and his pleasure, his need for satisfaction, so I just did it to make it stop,” she said in emotional testimony November 14.

Coming near the end of Jackson’s piercing closing argument today, that potentially pivotal testimony was slashed at over and over by the attorney in an effort to raise reasonable doubt for his client in the L.A. criminal trial. With Weinstein not taking the stand, Newsom’s testimony was seen by both prosecution and the defense as one of the most important of the trial, if not the most important, sources say.

In that vein, Jackson took a scorched Earth approach today.

“It was a theatrical, overly dramatized performance,” the lawyer told Judge Lisa Lench and the jury in his final pitch this afternoon, regarding the often-harrowing testimony last month from California’s now First Partner. “What you saw was an act. A pretty good act, but it had no basis in truth,” Jackson added in a raucous presentation that cut no quarter for either prosecutors or the four alleged Jane Does who took the stand over the past five weeks.

Tearing more into Newsom’s two days on the stand, Jackson in his closing went on to tell the courtroom: “It was almost like it was on cue, it was almost like it was rehearsed. Just because she cried the hardest or yelled the loudest, it does not change any of the facts.”

Facing a maximum of 60 years to life plus five if found guilty, Weinstein has been charged with two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault in incidents in L.A. County from 2004 to 2013. Originally the 70-year-old producer, already convicted and sentenced in New York, was looking at 11 sexual assault charges brought by Los Angeles prosecutors soon after he was extradited to the City of Angels in the summer of 2021. However, that was reduced on November 15 when the four counts related to Jane Doe #5 were suddenly axed from the case.

Weinstein was previously sentenced to 23 years in prison by a Manhattan jury in March 2020 for multiple sex crimes. That case is currently on appeal – as the L.A. case likely will be if the deep-pocketed and once well-connected defendant is convicted.

As his already incarcerated client looked on, Jackson savaged the multi-claim case presented by the L.A. County District Attorney’s office against former mogul Weinstein. “When you scrutinize each of the Jane Does individual allegations, which is your job, it’s clear that the people have not presented evidence … beyond any reasonable doubt,” the Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP partner said.

The prosecution called a total of eight witnesses to testify about being sexually assaulted by Weinstein. Four of those witnesses were the Jane Does, and four were what are known as prior bad act witnesses. Like in the NYC trial, the latter’s presence and testimony were intended to demonstrate a pattern and M.O. by Weinstein.

Lacking physical evidence and with alleged victims coming forward more than a decade after the events in question, Jackson summarized the DA’s case as “nothing” and nothing much more. “Nothing, except for five little words. Take my word for it,” he said of the prosecutors and the alleged victims, all of whom testified since the trial began in late October. “Take my word for it that it ever happened or take my word for it I didn’t consent. The truth is immutable. It’s not a feeling. It’s not a whim. It’s not a hashtag.”

Deputy DA Marlene Martinez concluded her closing argument earlier today asking the jury to end Weinstein’s “reign of terror.” Beginning his closing argument mid-morning, Jackson ended at around 4:30 Thursday. A final rebuttal from prosecutors will come Friday morning, after which the case will go to the jury for deliberations.

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