During a court hearing on Friday, the lawyers representing the disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein argued that he will likely die if he remains in prison as they asked a judge to release him on bail pending an appeal of his Manhattan rape conviction. They also claimed that the man who was once arguably the most powerful figure in the movie business is now broke.
“[Weinstein’s] physical and mental condition has so deteriorated, I do not think it’s an overstatement to say that if he is not released as part of this application, his chances of surviving in prison are rather low,” Barry Kamins, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, told Judge Angela Mazzarelli during a virtual hearing in the Appellate Division First Department.
“The defendant is almost blind, and he’s not ambulatory, and he’s on 20 medications,” Kamins continued, adding that Weinstein is confined to a wheelchair, according to Page Six. He went on to list out Weinstein’s medical conditions, which he said include diabetic retinopathy, coronary artery disease and spinal stenosis, or pressure on his back nerves, which causes a dragging foot.
Weinstein, who is serving a 23 year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault, was not present for the virtual hearing. The 68 year-old’s former producer’s attorneys have asked that bail be set at $2 million pending the outcome of Weinstein’s appeal of his case, which hasn’t been filed yet. Even if this bail amount is approved, Weinstein would still need to post another $5 million bail for his separate sex crimes case in Los Angeles before he could be freed. In the California city, he is facing 11 counts of rape, sexual battery and other charges in connection with attacks on five women.
Kamins told the judge that even though Weinstein is broke, he will still be able to come up with the money.
“He is not a man of any means at this point. He has no money,” he said, adding that “friends of his can put up the money.”
However, Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon scoffed at the claim that Weinstein was broke, pointing out that he recently sold a $60 million property. She also argued that he has the resources and connections to flee, as well as the incentive, given the fact that he is facing 135 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
“Basically, the time he stands to do on [the LA] case is serial-killer time,” she said. “He is a man of extraordinary means, more so than any defendant I have ever prosecuted.”
Judge Mazzarelli concluded the hearing by saying that she would likely have a decision on Monday.