By a Biometrica staffer
On Monday, April 12, erstwhile and disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein made his appearance via video conference along with his attorneys at an extradition hearing. He was secretly indicted by a grand jury in Los Angeles a couple of weeks ago, Fox News first reported on April 11. At the hearing on Monday in connection with that indictment, his lawyers Mark Werksman and Norman Effman argued against him being extradited to L.A. for “humanitarian reasons.”
Effman claims Weinstein is technically blind and has major dental issues, TMZ reported. He’s allegedly lost four teeth and is in danger of losing more. Prison officials in New York, where he is already serving out a 23-year sentence for rape and sexual assault, have scheduled two medical procedures for Weinstein, his lawyer added — one for his sight and one for his teeth, according to the TMZ report.
The 69-year-old appeared by video from the Wende correctional facility, near Buffalo, before a judge on the Erie county court. Effman asked that his client be arraigned on the indictment virtually in New York rather than extradited so he could get necessary medical treatment, according to a report in The Guardian. He added that Weinstein, a diabetic, is “almost technically blind at this point”, and also suffers from cardiac and back problems.
Wearing a burgundy colored outfit, the Oscar-winning producer himself was seen on camera sitting in a stark conference room from the maximum security prison, according to a report by Deadline. He used a walker, but smiled while chatting with his attorneys before the hearing, Variety reported. He answered a few simple questions from the judge but otherwise did not participate in the proceeding.
Weinstein, who was first accused by women of sexual harassment in 2017, faces 11 counts in the California indictment, including for rape and sexual battery involving fire incidents that allegedly took place between 2004 and 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 140 years behind bars, the Fox News report added.
According to legal experts, by getting an indictment, LA prosecutors can streamline the proceedings and are able to go straight to trial, rather than doing it under a criminal complaint that would then require a preliminary hearing, the Fox News report added. Once Weinstein is brought to L.A., prosecutors would have 120 days to bring him to trial, according to the Variety report.
He was convicted in New York city in February 2020 and later sentenced to 23 years in prison. It was seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement against the sexual abuse and harassment of women.
Dozens of women have come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct, including rape, against him since the first allegations surfaced in 2017. Weinstein has constantly denied any wrongdoing, and has vowed to clear his name.
Earlier this month, his lawyers launched the long-anticipated appeal against his conviction, arguing the judge made errors that denied his right to a fair trial, the BBC reported. For a full timeline of the Weinstein scandal from the BBC, click here.
The judge set the next hearing for his extradition to L.A. to April 30, so for now Weinstein will remain in prison in New York. If Judge Kenneth Case approves the extradition request — which is typically a formality — Weinstein would then be able to appeal to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will have 30 days to decide whether to intervene, the Variety report said. Effman’s request that his client be arraigned on the indictment virtually was denied, Variety added in its report.