- Los Angeles prosecutors dropped a key witness against Harvey Weinstein on Tuesday.
- Jane Doe 5’s two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation were dropped.
- Weinstein still faces 7 counts of sexual assault in his ongoing trial on criminal rape charges.
Prosecutors in Harvey Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial on criminal rape charges dropped a fifth charging witness on Tuesday, throwing a looming twist in the case as Gavin Newsom’s wife Jennifer Siebel Newsom continued crucial testimony from the stand.
Siebel Newsom, who is Jane Doe 4 in Los Angeles prosecutors’ case against Weinstein, took the stand yesterday, testifying that Weinstein raped her at the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills in 2005. Before her cross-examination kicked off on Tuesday, prosecutors announced the change.
By dropping the witness identified as Jane Doe 5, the case is now stripped of two counts of forcible rape and two counts of forcible oral copulation against Weinstein, meaning that the ex-mogul now faces 7 counts in total — two counts of rape and five counts of sexual assault from four women.
The highest sentence if convicted on all charges is 60 years to life in prison, a much lower potential sentence than the 150 years he could have originally faced. It’s also an early courtroom win for Weinstein’s team.
Notably, in opening arguments, prosecutors did not mention Jane Doe 5 as they walked the jury through the charges brought against Weinstein, though they left the door open to calling 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 an appeal for his New York trial now pending, Weinstein’s freedom is largely dependent on the outcome of the pared-down Los Angeles trial on criminal rape charges.