Harvey Weinstein’s extradition to Los Angeles delayed again as his lawyer demands new hearing

Harvey Weinstein’s extradition to Los Angeles delayed again as his lawyer demands new hearing

04/30/2021

Los Angeles prosecutors seeking to extradite convicted sex-offender Harvey Weinstein to face sex-crime charges there were stymied again Friday after the ex-movie mogul’s lawyer demanded another hearing in New York to challenge the transfer.

Erie County Judge Kenneth Case, presiding over a virtual hearing in Buffalo, New York, with Weinstein appearing from his New York prison, indicated he was reluctant to delay ruling on extradition but had no choice after Weinstein’s lawyer, Norman Effman, said he would file a writ to force a “fresh” hearing on the matter.

“As far as scheduling (another hearing), if (Effman) files something, we’ll come back, and we’ll set a new date” by May 30, Case said.

“I’ll do it as quickly as possible, not on 29th day but not on second day,” Effman promised. 

In court video image, Harvey Weinstein attends an extradition hearing from his prison near Buffalo on April 30, 2021. His lawyer says he will continue to challenge the ex-movie mogul's transfer to California to face sex-crime charges. (Photo: New York Unified Court System via AP)

Erie County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable, standing in for Los Angeles prosecutors listening to the hearing, forcefully objected to Effman’s tactic.

She sought to use Friday’s hearing to get an immediate yes or no ruling from Case on whether to transfer Weinstein to Los Angeles to face an 11-count indictment on sex-crime charges. 

Meanwhile, the 30-day deadline by which Weinstein can ask New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to block the extradition is now running.

Unless Cuomo agrees to block the transfer, the same cast of lawyers will be back in virtual court again next month for another hearing at which Effman will again attempt to challenge the extradition.  

Among other issues, Weinstein’s lawyers argue that his current medical condition is too compromised to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following Friday’s hearing, Weinstein’s Los Angeles lawyer, Mark Werksman,issued a statement to USA TODAY acknowledging that at some point Weinstein will face an in-person trial in California, but his medical needs are the top priority.

“We need to first examine the new paperwork served on Mr. Weinstein just yesterday to determine whether it complies with the strict mandates of the statue (on extradition),” Werksman said.

“If there is a further delay it is not because we do not want a trial or think Mr. Weinstein will not prevail. In fact, we want a fair trial; that fair trial cannot happen while the courts are still in pandemic mode.”   

In court video, Harvey Weinstein, lower right, his lawyer, Norman Effman, upper right, Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case, left, Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable, standing left center, at extradition hearing April 30, 2021. (Photo: New York Unified Court System via AP)

Weinstein appeared for the hearing Friday from the New York prison near Buffalo, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for his conviction in February 2020 on two sex crimes in Manhattan.

At an earlier virtual hearing on April 12, Case delayed ruling on extradition after Effman successfully argued that California prosecutors failed to provide proper legal paperwork required to meet extradition law.

Previous delay: Harvey Weinstein indicted, extradition to LA delayed by paperwork dispute

Effman argued that the case against Weinstein in Los Angeles had significantly changed because a county grand jury returned a sealed indictment on the charges he faces. While the indictment is similar to the original charges, there are slight differences, Effman said, and the documents he received from prosecutors did not meet legal requirements. 

Now that issue was moot, Curtin Gable said, because the correct paperwork has been presented. Still, Effman insists that Los Angeles’ application for extradition is now a “brand new” matter and thus a separate hearing is required. 

Harvey Weinstein departs a Manhattan courthouse during his sex-crimes trial in New York, Feb. 5, 2020. (Photo: John Minchillo, AP)

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 denied all the charges and continues to deny the two charges on which he was convicted in New York, first-degree sexual assault and third-degree rape.

Weinstein has filed an appeal of the New York conviction, arguing his trial was “unconstitutional” because he was denied a “fair and impartial jury.” 

Effman says Weinstein suffers from a variety of medical issues – including diabetes, sleep apnea, heart problems and back problems – and is taking multiple medications.

He says Weinstein is “nearly blind,” has lost four teeth since entering prison and is scheduled for two surgical procedures dealing with his eyes and teeth. 

What’s changed?: Harvey Weinstein has been behind bars for a year

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