A hunched Harvey Weinstein walked into a Manhattan courtroom using a metal walker on Wednesday, the tennis balls on its two back legs making a slight, dull noise as he walked down the aisle.
During this morning’s proceeding, Weinstein’s bail was increased from $1 million cash to $2 million insurance-company bond.
Prosecutors had accused Weinstein of having 57 “violations” involving his two-piece ankle monitor. Those infractions included being “out of cell service” range, and leaving the signaling part of this device in one location and the other part elsewhere.
Because of these alleged violations, prosecutors wanted Justice James Burke to increase Weinstein’s bail from the present $1 million to $5 million. (The tracking device is one of his present bail conditions.)
The district attorney’s office further argued that, in the alternative, a $50 million bond partially backed by 10 percent, or a $10 million insurance bond, would be appropriate.
“I find that these are the least restrictive conditions, which will reasonably assure the … defendant’s return to court,” Burke said of today’s change.
One of Weinstein’s lawyers, Arthur Aidala, explained Weinstein’s physical condition in court.
“Mr. Weinstein is [undergoing] a back surgery tomorrow,” he said. “Recuperation time is one week. His doctors have assured him that this is actually a surgery that’s necessary to relieve pain.”
Aidala, who said that this surgery is to alleviate issues from a car accident in August, insisted “it will not impede” Weinstein’s ability to “actively participate” in his trial.
Burke cautioned Weinstein not to use his health problems as an excuse to get out of court.
“If you have any further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding,” Burke said, warning, “The court will issue a warrant for your arrest.”
Weinstein said he has “every intention” of being in court.
“This is the only time I’ve asked [this],” Weinstein said. “This is a good thing.”
Outside of court, another one of Weinstein’s lawyers, Donna Rotunno, said more of the walker.
“We insisted that he use a walker today,” she said. “We wanted him to use a walker.”
“Mr. Weinstein didn’t want the press to think he was seeking sympathy,” she continued. “He’s in pain, he’s having surgery.”
The whole bail situation was complicated by criminal-justice reforms enacted earlier this year. New legislation eliminates cash bail for the vast majority of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies — and puts tighter restrictions on imposing electronic monitoring. The rule changes go into effect on January 1, 2020.
Burke said last week that the state still hadn’t figured out how to pay the tab for defendants’ ankle monitoring.
He said that in his understanding, “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 has been covering the costs for ankle-monitoring. He still has his ankle monitor after today’s proceeding, but the specifics of how it’s being paid for aren’t 100 percent clear.
Weinstein presently faces five counts in his case involving Mimi Haleyi and a still-unnamed woman.
The two predatory-sexual-assault counts — which could land him in jail for life if he’s convicted on them — could be bolstered by The Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra’s testimony that he raped her around late 1993.
The other three charges are one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree.
Weinstein has maintained his innocence.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.