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Harvey Weinstein has failed to block his extradition to California to face fresh rape and sexual assault charges, following a New York judge’s ruling.
The disgraced former film producer was handed a 23-year prison sentence in March 2020, found guilty of committing a first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape. He’s currently being held in Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo.
Los Angeles prosecutors have been fighting for him to be moved for nearly a year, with Weinstein’s legal team arguing he should remain in New York state so he can receive appropriate medical care. Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case has since dismissed these requests.
The 69-year-old, once one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, is due to face rape and sexual assault charges in California, with the former mogul allegedly assaulting five women in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills between 2004 and 2013, as per The Independent.
While it was once suspected he had COVID-19, Weinstein’s health has reportedly been declining behind bars, with lawyers claiming he’s suffering from cardiac, dental and back problems in addition to being ‘almost technically blind.’
Weinstein’s lawyers also claimed Los Angeles prosecutors hadn’t properly filed paperwork in order to claim custody. Judge Case rejected all of the defence’s arguments.
‘If California doesn’t come to pick up Mr Weinstein within a reasonable period of time, certainly come back to see me,’ the judge told lawyer Norman Effman.
‘It’s Los Angeles. It’s not some remote outpost that doesn’t have medical care,’ district attorney Colleen Gable reportedly said.
Mark Werksman, another lawyer for Weinstein, said his team would be appealing the decision. ‘We are disappointed by the judge’s ruling,’ he told Reuters.
‘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,’ he added.
Weinstein, who was earlier acquitted of predatory sexual assault, has denied any non-consensual relations. More than 100 women have accused him of inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Silence Breakers, a group that speaks out against sexual assault, said in the wake of his original sentence: ‘Harvey Weinstein’s legacy will always be that he’s a convicted rapist… he is going to jail – but no amount of jail time will repair the lives he ruined, the careers he destroyed, or the damage he has caused.’
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