Weinstein accused in California of sexual assault charges, could face extradition

Harvey Weinstein has been charged in California with sexual assault charges, one of his lawyers said on Monday, when the former Hollywood filmmaker appeared in a New York court to extradite him.

The 69-year-old Weinstein wore a collared stainless steel shirt as he appeared from the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo via video in front of Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case.

Weinstein has appealed his conviction in February 2020 in Manhattan and his 23-year prison sentence for sexually abusing former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping former actress Jessica Mann.

California’s criminal case against Weinstein covers alleged attacks on five women from 2004 to 2013 in the Los Angeles area and was announced last year.

It includes four counts of rape rape, four counts of forced oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery through restraint and one count of sexual penetration with the use of force.

Weinstein has denied having sex without any consensus with anyone.

Norman Effman, a general defender representing Weinstein, asked that his client be charged with the prosecution practically in New York rather than extradited so that he could receive the necessary medical treatment, including planned eye and dental surgery.

Effman said Weinstein, a diabetic, is “almost technically blind at the moment” and also suffers from heart and back problems.

“We’re not trying to avoid what’s going to happen in California,” Effman said. “We believe that there is not only a defense against these accusations, but a very good defense against these accusations,” which would lead to acquittal.

The Los Angeles County Law Firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Weinstein’s indictment was previously reported by the Los Angeles Times.

Another hearing is scheduled for April 30.

The conviction of Weinstein was seen as a watershed in the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment of men, including many like Weinstein who once had powerful jobs and influence.

If convicted in California, Weinstein could spend the rest of his life in prison even if his New York conviction is overturned.

“These are outdated, unwarranted, uncorrected, incredible allegations that arose during the hysteria of the #MeToo movement,” Weinstein’s criminal defense attorney Mark Werksman said in a statement. “We are convinced that Mr. Weinstein will be acquitted because there is no credible evidence against him. He is innocent.”

The Los Angeles District Attorney first requested Weinstein’s extradition in July last year, but it has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

(REUTERS)