Harvey Weinstein will be extradited to California to stand trial for sexual assault
New York, New York - Harvey Weinstein will soon be extradited to California to stand trial on charges that he sexually assaulted five women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills, a New York judge ruled Tuesday.
Weinstein (69) and his legal team have spent months trying to fight Los Angeles County prosecutors’ attempts to bring the disgraced Hollywood titan to Southern California. But on Tuesday, Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case ruled LA County authorities could claim custody of Weinstein immediately, setting the stage for a second trial focused on the mogul’s alleged pattern of sexually abusing actresses and models he held sway over in Hollywood.
Case knocked down a motion to block the mogul’s extradition that was largely based around claims the LA County district attorney’s office had filed erroneous paperwork in seeking to claim custody of him. While that argument led to a delay in the proceedings during a previous extradition hearing, it ultimately fell flat Tuesday. Erie County prosecutors said they had been in contact with LA County authorities, and it is unlikely they will seek to transport Weinstein to California until mid-July.
In March 2020, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in New York state prison after a Manhattan jury found him guilty of rape and committing a criminal sexual act. But the day before jury selection began in Weinstein’s New York trial, former LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed multiple counts of sexual assault against the Miramax co-founder, accusing him of assaulting three women in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013.
Last October, prosecutors added six more charges involving two additional alleged victims.
Weinstein's defense says he is nearly blind
Weinstein’s defense team has repeatedly cited the mogul’s poor health as a reason to delay his extradition. Attorney Norman Effman has said Weinstein is being held in a medical wing at the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, and has repeatedly asked for prosecutors to allow Weinstein to appear remotely in Los Angeles, because he has two surgeries scheduled in New York to deal with a number of severe medical issues. Previously, Weinstein’s defense attorneys have said he is nearly blind.
It is not clear when a trial would take place in Los Angeles. The county’s courts effectively stopped all criminal trials during the Covid-19 pandemic, and have only recently begun to hold trials again, including the high-profile murder prosecution of real estate scion Robert Durst.
In April, it was revealed that an LA County grand jury indicted Weinstein on four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery and one count of sexual penetration by force. The indictment allows prosecutors to avoid the need to hold a preliminary hearing in LA and was meant to preempt potential speedy-trial issues in Weinstein’s case, law enforcement officials previously told the Los Angeles Times.
Weinstein has denied all wrongdoing and is appealing his conviction in New York. The allegations against Weinstein in Los Angeles echo those he was convicted of in Manhattan.
Weinstein accused by more than 80 women
Lauren Young, the only accuser whose identity has been made public in the Los Angeles case, has alleged Weinstein lured her into his room after a meeting at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills in 2013, where the mogul allegedly grabbed her breast and masturbated before she fled. Young testified against Weinstein as a "prior bad acts" witness in Manhattan.
A second accuser in the Los Angeles case is an Italian model who previously told the Times that Weinstein attacked her inside Mr C’s hotel in Beverly Hills in 2013. The woman, whose identity has not been made public, reported the assault to the Los Angeles Police Department in 2017, sparking an investigation that led to the filing of charges early last year.
The identities of the three other accusers have yet to be made public. In total, more than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual abuse in the US and Europe.
Cover photo: IMAGO / UPI Photo