The legal team of disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is asking a federal judge to release him on $2 million bail pending the outcome of an appeal of his Manhattan rape conviction.
Court papers obtained by Page Six show that in making this request, Weinstein’s lawyers have cited his history of philanthropy as well as his deteriorating health. Lawyer Barry Kamins brought up the 68 year-old former Hollywood mogul’s film career in requesting bail, arguing that he “shined a spotlight on a myriad of human struggles” including raising awareness of racial injustice in movies like The Butler, Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom and Fruitvale Station.
He went on to say that Weinstein, who had been a top donor to the Democratic Party prior to his arrest, had helped to produce documentaries that focused on serious social issues including “sexual assault on campus [in] The Hunting Ground.”
“His films engendered empathy for those who are afflicted by disabilities that society has stigmatized and for those who are victimized by injustice,” Kamins wrote in the filing. He then described Weinstein as a “force in philanthropy” and listed charities for which he had raised millions of dollars.
The bail application stated that Weinstein has “serious medical conditions” for which he must take 20 different medications. It also said that the former movie producer is confined to a wheelchair and is losing vision in both eyes as a result of his diabetes. On top of that, Weinstein reportedly has an enlarged aorta and prostate, the court documents claimed.
Weinstein is also facing rape and sexual battery charges in California, where the Los Angeles County Superior Court has authorized his release on $5 million bail. Kamins suggested in the application that the judicial department require Weinstein to post the $5 million bond in LA first, then set bail in New York at $2 million in light of “Mr. Weinstein’s diminished means and failing health.”
The filing said that the bail application “demonstrates that Mr. Weinstein has meritorious issues that he will raise on appeal that are likely to result in a reversal of his conviction.”
Weinstein’s legal team has argued that his Manhattan conviction should be overturned after Justice James Burke seated a juror who had repeatedly lied to the court. They also argued that the judge improperly admitted a “plethora of evidence of other alleged crimes and bad acts” for which Weinstein wasn’t charged.
Back in March, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for the rape and sexual assault of two women in New York City. He has since begun serving his sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility in upstate New York.