A New York judge gave the go-ahead Tuesday for convicted sex offender and ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein to be extradited to Los Angeles County, likely by mid-July, to face nearly a dozen sex-crime charges there.
Erie County Judge Kenneth Case, presiding over the latest virtual hearing in the matter, once again heard arguments by Weinstein’s New York lawyer, Norman Effman, and Erie County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable, standing in for Los Angeles prosecutors, about whether the California paperwork seeking Weinstein’s transfer was complete and proper.
Gable argued that “Los Angeles County absolutely met the requirements of the statue on detainers” which governs interstate extradition, she told Case.
In this image taken from court video, Harvey Weinstein attends a hearing from Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, N.Y., June 15, 2021, during which a New York judge approved his extradition to Los Angeles to face additional sexual assault charges. (Photo: AP)
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Effman argued the opposite, citing, among other reasons, that the latest paperwork submitted by Los Angeles prosecutors did not specifically list all the charges, which began with five counts but later increased to 11.
“What the district attorney is saying to us here is that these papers are ‘close enough, we almost have it right,’ but they don’t have it right,” Effman said. “We are challenging the paperwork because it’s not right, it’s wrong. It’s a legal technicality based on due process and constitutional right and what the statues and courts have ruled.”
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Weinstein, who listened to the hearing from the state prison near Buffalo where he is serving a 23-year sentence, sought to remain in Wende Correctional Facility to continue medical treatment for various ailments, at least until jury selection in a Los Angeles trial began.
Meanwhile, the 30-day deadline for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to intervene in the extradition to block it has run out with no move from his office.
The judge said he based his ruling on the arguments and briefs made and submitted over multiple hearings on the matter, and “respectfully” denied Effman’s petition to block the extradition.
“If California does not pick up Mr. Weinstein in a reasonable period of time, come back to see me,” he said.
As a practical matter, prosecutors told the judge, it is likely Weinstein won’t be physically moved to Los Angeles before mid-July.
“The LA County DA’s Office indicated to our prosecutors that they would extradite Mr. Weinstein sometime between late-June and mid-July,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn in a statement later to USA TODAY.
Harvey Weinstein departs a Manhattan courthouse during his sex-crimes trial in New York, Feb. 5, 2020. (Photo: John Minchillo, AP)
He also said in the statement that the judge’s ruling showed that the paperwork filed by the Los Angeles prosecutors complied with the interstate law on extraditions.
Weinstein’s legal team, which includes Effman and Los Angeles lawyer Mark Werksman who listened to the hearing, suggested the matter is not over yet in a statement sent to USA TODAY.
“We are disappointed by the judge’s ruling but we are appealing his decision in New York and we have filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent the Los Angeles District Attorney from transporting Mr. Weinstein to Los Angeles until he can receive the medical care he needs in New York,” according to the statement issued by Weinstein spokesman Juda Engelmayer.
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.
Weinstein was charged in a felony complaint by then-Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey with five felony sex crimes involving two women on the first day of his New York trial in January 2020. In October, more charges were added in Los Angeles, for a total of 11.
He has denied all the charges and continues to deny the two charges on which he was convicted in New York in 2020, including first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape.
The Weinstein extradition matter has been delayed four times, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic, since Weinstein entered the state prison in Erie County in March 2020.
The pandemic in Southern California has been especially punishing, leading to strict COVID-19 protocols and a backup of criminal and civil cases in the largest court system in the nation.
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