Harvey Weinstein tested positive for coronavirus in an upstate New York prison, the New York Post reported, citing an official with knowledge of the situation. The Niagara Gazette first reported the claim that Weinstein has coronavirus. His lawyers told Vulture that they have not received information indicating he was sick with the virus and would likely not know anything until Monday morning.
Weinstein was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security state prison near Buffalo, several days ago. One of his lawyers told Vulture that Weinstein was put into isolation when he arrived at Wende as a precaution due to coronavirus concerns at New York City’s infamous Rikers Island jail, where he was prior to his transfer to prison.
On February 24, a jury found Weinstein guilty of first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. On March 11, Justice James Burke imposed a sentence of 23 years in prison. Before Weinstein was moved upstate, he had bounced between Rikers (which is now dealing with the coronavirus) and Bellevue Hospital, where he underwent treatment for heart problems.
Asked for comment, the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision responded, “The Department cannot comment on an individual’s medical record.”
“However, we can confirm that two of the Department’s approximately 43,000 incarcerated individuals, both at Wende Correctional Facility, have confirmed cases,” the department’s statement said. “With each confirmed case, DOCCS worked with the Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals in order to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus.”
Previously, DOCCS officials said that Weinstein would be at Wende “throughout the classification process” — which effectively just means processing an inmate into the state’s prison system and then determining the prisoner’s security, medical, and mental-health needs. Because there is no “standard timeframe” for this classification process, it’s unclear how long Weinstein will be at Wende. It’s also not clear whether Weinstein will be moved to another lockup or ultimately just stay at Wende.
The DOCCS recently suspended all visits because of the COVID-19 crisis. As with other inmates impacted by suspended visitation, Weinstein will receive five free stamps per week, two free secure messages via electronic messaging per week, and one free phone call weekly.
This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.
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