Harvey Weinstein‘s lawyer on Friday signaled plans to fight his client’s extradition to Los Angeles after a grand jury indictment in California. Despite that threat, a New York judge indicated the process could wrap up as soon as May 30.
“This is a brand new day,” Weinstein’s lawyer Norman Effman said in court today. “As I said, Groundhog Day is started again.”
Convicted in New York for rape and other charges, Weinstein has been appealing his 23-year sentence on the East Coast while simultaneously trying to fend off his transfer to California, where he faces sexual assault charges involving alleged misconduct toward five women from 2004 to 2013.
A little more than a year ago, a jury convicted Weinstein of lesser charges in his Manhattan trial: a criminal sexual act in the first degree against former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and rape in the third degree against former actress Jessica Mann. Though the verdict shielded Weinstein from a possible life sentence, a judge sentenced the 69-year-old toward the upper end of the possible range. Weinstein’s attorney has called the sentence “unconstitutional” in an appeal that takes aim at what his lawyers characterize as the trial judge’s outburst over Weinstein bringing cell phones into court.
“Mr. Weinstein, I could not implore you more to not answer the following question: Is this really the way you want to end up in jail for the rest of your life, by texting in violation of an order?” Judge James Burke said in a remark that sparked a recusal motion. “Is it?”
Weinstein’s criminal exposure, and his counterattack, are far from over.
Appearing virtually from prison before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case in Buffalo, New York, Weinstein said little as his attorney Effman signaled his client now has the option to make a motion for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to deny the request. Cuomo could theoretically decide to halt Weinstein’s transfer on his own, but there has been no indication the governor would be willing to do so.
“So that 30 day grace period is in operation, but I also believe that the — the compact, as well as the statute, indicates that he was still must be brought before an Erie County court if he does not waive extradition on the paperwork that he has been provided while incarcerated,” Effman said. “So just as we did the last time, I think we’d be back in front of a judge, and there will be no waiver.”
If transferred to California, Weinstein would stay in the jail ward of the Los Angeles County hospital while awaiting trial on accusations that he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at Beverly Hills hotel room on May 11, 2010. The other West Coast charges against Weinstein include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint, stemming from allegations that he attacked two women in 2013.
“We are eager to defend Harvey against these spurious charges, but not unless he is first allowed a fair and lawful extradition process that will account for his ongoing medical treatment in New York and the fact that COVID still prevents him from having an in-person trial in the Los Angeles courts for the foreseeable future,” defense attorney Mark Werksman said in a statement following the hearing.
Weinstein could face additional decades behind bars if convicted on the West Coast, but first, the former movie producer’s lawyers hope to prevent the process from happening.
“So I will await paperwork from you then, if you so choose, and otherwise, the 30 day period has begun, which would be until May 30,” Judge Case said.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
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