A haggard-looking Harvey Weinstein was briefly seen carrying a cane when he arrived at Manhattan court Friday morning for a proceeding over his bail.
The disgraced movie mogul, who sported a light gray suit and black lace-up Vans, was limping worse than at past court appearances. When he left the courthouse, he was supported by two handlers. One of those handlers placed Weinstein’s hand on the hand railing of the stairs as he made his way to a black SUV.
Prosecutors said in Manhattan court Friday that they want to increase Weinstein’s bail to $5 million cash, claiming he has had dozens of “violations” related to the ankle monitor that’s supposed to keep tabs on his location.
Weinstein, whose sexual assault and rape trial is scheduled for the week of January 6, has been out on $1 million bail. The tracking device has also been a condition of his release.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said that Weinstein “has not been doing very well” in complying with ankle monitoring and recently racked up some 56 “violations.”
Sometimes, the device couldn’t be found because it was “out of cell service.” Weinstein, who has a two-part monitoring device, has left the signaling device one place and the other device elsewhere.
“Mr. Weinstein has left his second device in one place and is not within signaling area of that device on his ankle,” Illuzzi said of this alleged violation. “None of those violations — none of the ‘bracelet gone’ violations — were accidental or in any way forgetful on the part of the defendant.”
“Here is a man who has run multimillion-dollar businesses and has juggled many, many issues at the same time,” she continued. “It defies logic to believe that he cannot navigate taking his device with him when he travels outside his home.”
Illuzzi also said that Weinstein sold five properties over the last several years, amounting to $60 million.
Given his ankle-monitoring issues and real-estate windfall, she asked Justice James Burke to increase his bail to $5 million in cash or, alternately, a $50 million bond partially backed by 10 percent, or a $10 million insurance bond.
Donna Rotunno, one of Weinstein’s lawyers, insisted that Weinstein has not only complied with his ankle-monitor requirements, but also “taken on the financial responsibility of paying for that device.”
“These violations are really nothing more than technical glitches,” Rotunno said. “Sometimes that two-piece device loses battery and he has to charge it.”
Weinstein didn’t handle “these smaller details,” Rotunno said, noting that “He employed somebody to make sure that this would be handled and taken care of.”
Rotunno also said he had a two-piece device because the one-piece device was “problematic for his leg and his medical issues.”
Whether Weinstein gets hit with more bail or changes to his ankle-monitor restrictions is complicated by criminal justice reforms passed earlier this year. New legislation, which gets rid of cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, also places more stringent restrictions on imposing electronic monitoring on defendants. Burke, the judge who’s presiding over the case, said that as he understands the law, “no individual is permitted to pay for his or her own ankle-monitoring bracelet, and rather the state of New York is required to pay for it.” Weinstein is currently paying the tab for his ankle monitoring.
The issue, however, is that the state has yet to figure out the logistics of covering ankle-monitoring costs, Burke said. A decision on Weinstein’s bail conditions was not reached this morning. All sides are due back on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the disgraced movie producer’s recent efforts to weaken prosecutors’ case hasn’t worked. Burke rejected Weinstein’s attempts to keep actress Annabella Sciorra from testifying at trial. He also rejected Weinstein’s efforts to get the two predatory sexual assault counts thrown out. The Sopranos actress’ allegation that Weinstein raped her in 1993 is contained within the predatory sexual assault charge.
Prosecutors are using Sciorra’s claim to bolster their argument that Weinstein has a lengthy history of predatory behavior.
What this means: Prosecutors have more ammo to pursue a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Weinstein is also charged with one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, one count of rape in the first degree, and one count of rape in the third degree. Those charges involve alleged nonconsensual sexual encounters with two women, Mimi Haleyi and a still-unnamed accuser.
Weinstein also lost his battle to move his trial out of Manhattan.
His lawyers had claimed that he couldn’t get a fair shake because of extensive reporting and potential jurors’ liberal inclinations.
One of Weinsten’s attorneys, Arthur Aidala, claimed in court papers: “An internet search of the New York Post’s ‘Page Six,’ a mainstay of local New York City news, and the name Harvey Weinstein in 2019, yields over 11,000 hits.”
“Political, cultural and social organizations with headquarters in Manhattan (’MeToo’ and ‘Times Up’) were catapulted to prominence as a direct result of Harvey Weinstein’s arrest in this case and New York City is ground zero in their activism, with such activities as the so-called Women’s March, and the rallying cry ‘believe all women,’ a position that is antithetical to due process,” Aidala also wrote. “Polls show that this activism disproportionately impacts the opinions of Democrats, the largest demographic group in New York City on central issues in this case.”
Weinstein has maintained his innocence.