Prosecutors at Harvey Weinstein’s trial in Los Angeles on criminal rape charges dropped the fifth witness on Tuesday, bringing a looming stalemate to the case as Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Sibel Newsom, continued to give crucial testimony from the stand.
Siebel Newsom, a Jane Doe 4 in Los Angeles Prosecutors v. Weinstein, took the stand yesterday, testifying that Weinstein raped her at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in 2005. Before her questioning began Tuesday, prosecutors announced to change hands.
By dropping a witness identified as Jane Doe 5, the case has now been stripped of two counts of forced rape and two counts of forced oral intercourse against Weinstein, meaning the former mogul now faces 7 counts in total — two counts of rape and five counts of rape. Accusations of sexual assault from four women.
The highest penalty if convicted on all charges is 60 years to life in prison, a potential sentence much less than the 150 years he would have originally faced. It’s also an early courtroom win for Team Weinstein.
Notably, in opening arguments, prosecutors did not mention Jane Doe 5 as they walked the jury through the charges against Weinstein, though they left the door open to contact her until Tuesday.
Weinstein denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
He is already serving a 23-year sentence after a separate trial in New York. But with his trial to resume in New York pending, Weinstein’s release depends largely on the outcome of Los Angeles’ reductant trial on felony rape charges.