Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the novel coronavirus in prison.
Just days after being transferred to the Wende Correctional Facility from NYC’s Rikers Island, the Oscar winning producer and convicted rapist is now in medical isolation, an Empire State law enforcement official confirms to Deadline.
Under the policy that they “cannot comment on an individual’s medical record,” New York State’s Department of Corrections representatives did not respond to request for direct confirmation. “Our team …has not heard anything like that yet,” said Weinstein PR chief Juda Engelmayer on Sunday. “I can’t tell you what I don’t know,” the producer’s personal rep added.
Moved to Wende on March 18, the just turned 68 years old Weinstein is one of two prisoners at the 961 capacity maximum security facility just east of Buffalo who was put in isolation after testing positive for the coronavirus.
As the global pandemic spreads and surges, New York state has taken the biggest hit domestically of the ever expanding coronavirus. To that, he more than 43,000 prisoners in the state’s already over burdened system are increasingly seen as a high risk category. Already around 40 inmates at Rikers have reportedly been found positive for COVID-19 in the past week, coinciding with Weinstein’s time in that NYC Hellhole.
It is unclear if Weinstein himself contracted the disease at the East River complex or when he was in hospital in Manhattan over the past few weeks – both are potential hot spots, especially the former.
In a testament to the power of local journalism, among other things, the Niagara Gazette first reported Weinstein’s condition earlier today
On February 24, the once mercurial mogul was found guilty by a New York jury of two sex crime felony charges after a nearly six week trial. Allegedly hobbled by health issues and often in court with a much mocked walker, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years behind bars on March 11.
Suffering from chest pains, the Pulp Fiction producer was back in NYC’s Bellevue that same day for second stint, literally. First admitted to America’s oldest public hospital almost immediately after being convicted late last month, Weinstein had only been out of Bellevue a mere six days. A few days after the second Bellevue sojourn, Weinstein was moved again to Rikers’ vast North Infirmary Command, where he remained until the move to Wende last week.
In an America that has already shut down in many respects, today’s news will add a further complication, to put it mildly, to plans for an appeal of the New York case and the extradition of Weinstein to Los Angeles to face multiple sex crimes charges out West – charges that were made public by re-election seeking L.A. County D.A. Jackie Lacey on January 6, the opening day of Weinstein’s NYC trial.
First arrested New York in late May 2018, Weinstein initially faced two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape in New York. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, he had been out on a $5 million bail after entering a not guilty plea on July 9, 2018. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 last year when a new indictment was added.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case, failing to get a sex-trafficking class action tossed out, and the subject of a more recent lawsuit from a woman who says he abused her when she was 16 in 2002, Weinstein is also facing allegations from close to 100 other women who say he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. Over the past few months, several of those individuals are refusing to participate in a potential $25 million over-arching settlement that is part of an overall $45 million deal on the table.
Using terms like “insulting” to describe the proposed settlement on March 9, several Weinstein accusers publicly called on New York Attorney General Letitia James to reject that proposed multimillion-dollar settlement with Weinstein and his former company – a deal that would see millions more for lawyers and former members of the Weinstein Company board with no admission of guilt on the part of Weinstein himself.