Attorney: Holding cell conditions for Weinstein have improved
A day after complaining about the “almost medieval” conditions former film producer Harvey Weinstein is facing in a courthouse holding cell before being taken back to jail, one of his attorneys told a judge Wednesday that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has inspected and cleaned up the area.
One of Weinstein’s lawyers, Mark Werksman, thanked Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench for her assistance following his plea Tuesday that his client was being kept in his wheelchair in an “unsanitary, fetid” holding cell for three to four hours before returning to jail while on trial on sex-related charges involving five women.
“It’s almost medieval, the conditions. I’m concerned about his health and his ability to survive this ordeal. He’s 70 years old,” Werksman said then of his client, who produced such films as “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction.”
“I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke.”
Attorneys are in the midst of jury selection in Weinstein’s trial, with one group of prospective panelists due back in court Monday afternoon.
Weinstein was initially charged in January 2020 by Los Angeles County prosecutors with forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by use of force involving one woman on Feb. 18, 2013, and sexual battery by restraint involving another woman a day later.
He was subsequently charged in April 2020 with sexual battery by restraint involving another woman. In November 2020, prosecutors added six more counts — three counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation — involving two alleged victims in Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2010.
The grand jury subsequently indicted Weinstein on the same charges.
Weinstein was extradited from New York, where he was convicted of raping an aspiring actress and of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant. The state’s highest court has since agreed to hear his appeal involving that case.
The judge — who on Monday described the charges as “essentially sexually assaults or assaults of a sexual nature” — told prospective jurors that the trial is expected to last about two months, including the jury selection process.
Citing anonymous sources, the Los Angeles Times reported that California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is among the alleged victims set to testify during Weinstein’s trial. She was referred to in court documents as “Jane Doe 4,” the newspaper reported.
“Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap. She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women,” her attorney, Elizabeth Fegan, told The Times. “Please respect her choice to not further discuss this matter outside of the courtroom.”