• Friday, Oct 23, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:01 pm

Weinstein in good spirits after sex crimes conviction

  • Published at 08:00 pm February 26th, 2020
Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein Collected

Weinstein was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013

Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was in good spirits on Tuesday, as he accepted visitors while under police guard at a Manhattan hospital, his lawyer said, despite having been convicted a day earlier of sexual assault and rape.

Weinstein had been expected to move to New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex following the verdict, but was admitted late Monday night to Bellevue Hospital a few miles away.

One of his lawyers, Arthur Aidala, told reporters after meeting with Weinstein that his 67-year-old client “looked like he was in good shape” but was “not a picture of health by any stretch of the imagination,” and doctors would decide when to release him.

“He was upbeat,” though “obviously he prefers being in his own house,” Aidala said.

Aidala said Weinstein was “somewhat flabbergasted by the verdict” and “cautiously optimistic” about his eventual appeal. “I almost feel emboldened by Mr. Weinstein’s spirits and his desire to continue to fight these charges,” Aidala added.

Weinstein was convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.

Milestone for #metoo

Weinstein’s guilty verdict was a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which was fueled by his case starting in late 2017.

The movement inspired women to accuse hundreds of powerful men - in entertainment, business, media, politics and other fields - of sexual misconduct.

Weinstein faces up to 29 years in prison, and is scheduled to be sentenced on March 11.

Aidala said he may seek an earlier sentencing date so Weinstein can appeal sooner. New York law requires a defendant to be sentenced first, he said.

He quoted Weinstein as saying after the verdict: “I’m innocent. I’m innocent. How can this happen in America?”

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He has denied the accusations, and said any sexual encounters were consensual.

Health issues

A spokesman said earlier on Tuesday that Weinstein suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure. During the trial, the former producer appeared frail and used a walker.

Weinstein was admitted to a unit that provides medical care for inmates.

The Rikers Island jail complex, whose main building went up in 1932, has long been plagued by violence and neglect. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed in 2017 to close it within a decade.

Jail officials could place Weinstein in a private or semi-private cell to help ensure his safety.

Weinstein also faces several felony charges in Los Angeles in connection with his alleged sexual assaults against two women in 2013.

His former film studio, Weinstein Co, filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and is being liquidated.

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