Many people have noted how Harvey Weinstein’s health issues were brought to light as his trial progressed.
Many people have noted how Harvey Weinstein’s health issues were brought to light as his trial progressed.

Rapist Weinstein’s last bid to avoid jail

As the guilty verdict was handed down to disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, his lawyer made a desperate final attempt to keep him out of jail.

The 67-year-old was found guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping Jessica Mann, a one-time aspiring actress, in 2013.

He was convicted of first degree sexual assault and third degree rape and is facing up to 29 years behind bars.

After the conviction was handed down Justice James Burke ordered him held in jail prior to sentencing on March 11.

Up until this point Weinstein has been free on a $US2 million bond, with his lawyer, Donna Rotunno, urging the judge to allow him to stay on house arrest due to health issues.

 

Ms Rotunno told the court he has recently had unsuccessful back surgery and also required daily injections in his eyes to keep him from going blind.

Many people have drawn similarities from Weinstein's trial to Bill Cosby's own sexual assault conviction.

Cosby is currently serving three to ten years in jail for drugging and molesting Andrea Constand in 2004.

The disgraced actor revealed he was blind days before his sexual assault trial began. Many people have noted how Weinstein's own health issues were brought to light as his trial progressed.

Weinstein appeared in court most days with a walker, which his attorneys said was a result of his lingering back issues.

Judge Burke refused his legal team's request for house arrest but said he would request Weinstein be held in the jails infirmary.

He was handcuffed and officers helped the 67-year-old unsteadily to his feet before leading him away.

Weinstein was led from the court room without his walker. Picture: Elizabeth Williams/AP
Weinstein was led from the court room without his walker. Picture: Elizabeth Williams/AP

 

 

His lawyer said he was ordered to be immediately taken to a medical facility at New York City's Rikers Island jail complex.

He was instead diverted to Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan after complaining of chest pains.

Bellevue is known for its psychiatric facility, but it also serves as a hospital for jail inmates.

The spokesman, Juda Engelmayer, told Reuters he did not know why Weinstein went to Bellevue or how long he would be there.

Either destination would be a sharp contrast to the posh Four Seasons hotel where the former producer started his day.

Weinstein's lawyer Arthur Aidala told news.com.au his team will appeal the convictions which he described as "disappointing".

"Harvey was unbelievably stoic and strong and powerful," Mr Aidala said of his client's response to the verdict.

"The words he said over and over again to me is: 'I'm innocent, I'm innocent, I'm innocent. How could this happen in America?'"

An ambulance carrying Harvey Weinstein is escorted from a Manhattan courthouse. Picture: Mary Altaffer/AP
An ambulance carrying Harvey Weinstein is escorted from a Manhattan courthouse. Picture: Mary Altaffer/AP

 

Outside court, Ms Rutonna told reporters "the fight is not over".

"Harvey is very strong. Harvey is unbelievably strong. He took it like a man," she added.

A long legal battle in the appeals courts is likely to ensue. At the start of the trial, defence lawyers accused the judge of bias, the prosecutors of withholding evidence, and the media of turning the trial into a circus.

Weinstein still faces sexual assault charges in California, which were announced just hours after his New York trial began on January 6. Dozens of women have also filed civil lawsuits against him.

More than 80 women, including famous actresses, accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades. He denied the accusations and said any sexual encounters were consensual.

The jury acquitted Weinstein on two counts of predatory sexual assault and first degree rape - forcible sexual intercourse - of Mann.

A conviction on predatory sexual assault would have required the jury to find Weinstein committed an alleged assault against actress Annabella Sciorra and at least one of the alleged crimes against Haleyi or Mann.

With AP

*For 24-hour sexual violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or MensLine on 1800 600 636.

 



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