Movie mogul-turned-convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein was on his way to California Tuesday, bringing an end to his long effort to avoid or delay extradition to face more sex-crime charges in Los Angeles County.
“This morning at approximately 9:25 a.m., custody of Mr. Harvey Weinstein was handed over to the appropriate officials for transport to the state of California per a court order,” reads a statement from the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision sent to USA TODAY.
Weinstein’s spokesman, Juda Engelmayer, said Weinstein and his legal team were “disappointed,” after failing to negotiate an agreement with prosecutors last month to waive the transfer.
“We are disappointed that the LA DA didn’t wait for the judge’s ruling, but we did expect this to happen at some point,” the statement said. “We will be fighting so that Harvey can receive his needed medical care and of course, so that he can be treated fairly.
“Due process, presumption of innocence and a fair trial are all still his right.”
Weinstein, 69, faces 11 felony counts of sexual assault, including forcible rape, against five women in encounters at Beverly Hills hotels dating back to 2004.
He has been at Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, New York, where he is serving a 23-year sentence after being convicted of two sex crimes in Manhattan in 2020, including first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape.
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Weinstein’s lawyers said he accepted that he would be transferred to Los Angeles eventually but sought to delay the extradition to continue medical treatment for various ailments, at least until jury selection in a Los Angeles trial begins.
But an Erie County judge gave the go-ahead on June 15, and prosecutors said then the likely transfer date would be by mid-July. This followed a series of hearings starting in 2020 in which Weinstein’s legal team managed to get the judge to agree to delays.
Once Weinstein arrives in Los Angeles, prosecutors there must take him to trial within 120 days, according to Greg Risling, spokesman for the office Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
There was no immediate word on where he will be held pending the trial.
Some of Weinstein’s many accusers and foes in the #MeToo movement celebrated the move. Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred, who represented some of his accusers in the New York trial and also represents two accusers in the Los Angeles case, said his extradition is “long overdue.”
“Justice has been delayed in Los Angeles but it will not be denied to the brave accusers who are willing to testify in this criminal case,” she said in a statement to USA TODAY.
Elizabeth Fegan, the lawyer for several accusers, including one in the Los Angeles case, said her clients applaud the development.
“The opportunity to hold Weinstein accountable for his actions in California gives voice to the survivors,” she said in a statement to USA TODAY. “They deserve to be heard and to have Weinstein answer for his actions. Our hope is that a guilty verdict in California will ensure that Harvey Weinstein will spend the rest of his life behind bars – securing justice for women everywhere.“
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