Harvey Weinstein will likely die in prison if not freed, lawyers claim10/16/2020
Harvey Weinstein is now broke and will likely die if he remains in prison, his lawyer said Friday at a hearing over whether the former powerhouse producer should be freed on bail pending an appeal of his Manhattan rape conviction.
“[Weinstein’s] physical and mental condition has so deteriorated, I do not think it’s an overstatement to say that if he is not released as part of this application, his chances of surviving in prison are rather low,” said one of his lawyers, Barry Kamins, to Judge Angela Mazzarelli during a virtual hearing in the Appellate Division First Department.
“The defendant is almost blind, and he’s not ambulatory, and he’s on 20 medications,” said Kamins, adding that Weinstein is wheelchair-bound.
Kamins rattled off his client’s medical conditions — including diabetic retinopathy, coronary artery disease and spinal stenosis, or pressure on his back nerves, which causes a dragging foot.
The disgraced producer, who is currently serving a 23-year sentence at Wende Correctional Facility, was not on the video call.
His lawyers last week applied for $2 million bail pending the outcome of Weinstein’s appeal of his case, which hasn’t been filed yet.
Still, even if his $2 million bail push is approved, Weinstein would have to post another $5 million bail for his separate Los Angeles sex-crimes case before he could be freed. In the LA case, he faces 11 counts of rape, sexual battery and other charges in connection to attacks on five women.
Weinstein’s lawyer told the judge his client is broke — but that doesn’t mean he can’t come up with the whopping cash.
“He is not a man of any means at this point,” Kamins told the judge. “He has no money.”
But “friends of his can put up the money,” the lawyer said.
Weinstein’s lawyers, in part, allege that Justice James Burke, who presided over his Manhattan Supreme Court trial, seated a juror who repeatedly lied to the court about a novel she wrote titled “Age of Consent.” The book is about predatory older men and their relationships with underage women.
The lawyers also argued that the judge improperly admitted evidence and testimony of misconduct for which Weinstein wasn’t charged.
Bail, they argued, was appropriate given the seriousness of the alleged trial errors and the likelihood that his conviction would be reversed.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon laughed at the assertion Weinstein was broke, pointing out that he’d recently sold $60 million in property, and argued that he had the resources, connections and every incentive to flee.
“Basically, the time he stands to do on [the LA] case is serial-killer time,” she said, referring to the fact that Weinstein faces as much as 135 years on the charges. “He is a man of extraordinary means, more so than any defendant I have ever prosecuted.”
She disputed the defense’s characterization of the juror, arguing that she was forthright and answered every question put to her “accurately and honestly.”
After the hourlong hearing, Judge Mazzarelli said she’d likely issue her decision Monday.
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison in March after a Manhattan ury convicted him of forcibly performing oral sex on former “Project Runway” production assistant Miriam “Mimi” Haleyi in 2006 and raping hairstylist Jessica Mann in 2013.
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