US judge rules Harvey Weinstein can be extradited to California to stand trial

Harvey Weinstein court appearance
Harvey Weinstein was convicted in 2020 of rape and sexual assault (Image: Reuters)

Disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein can be extradited to California to face additional sexual assault charges, a New York judge has ruled.

The former Hollywood mogul is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in New York, having been found guilty of rape and sexual assault last year.

Weinstein’s defence team had argued that he should remain in New York to receive appropriate medical care.

A lawyer for Weinstein told US media they would appeal the ruling.

Weinstein, 69, who was once one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood, has denied having non-consensual relations with anyone.

He is expected to be moved to California by mid-July, where he faces an 11-count indictment on charges that he attacked five women in Los Angeles between 2004 and 2013. It is not yet clear when a trial would take place in that city, as Covid-19 shutdowns have stalled most criminal trials there.

The decision follows a months-long effort by Weinstein’s team to block the transfer.

On Tuesday, Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case rejected arguments by Weinstein’s lawyers that Los Angeles prosecutors had not appropriately filed paperwork to claim custody of the former producer.

Defence attorney Mark Werksman told Reuters news agency: “We are disappointed by the judge’s ruling.”

Mr Werksman said that his team has filed a petition to prevent Weinstein from being transported “until he can receive the medical care he needs in New York”.

Weinstein’s defence team has said he has two surgeries scheduled in New York to address a number of undisclosed medical issues. Previously, his lawyers have said he is nearly blind.

Last November, the mogul’s representatives said he was unwell and being “closely monitored”.

In a statement, Erie County prosecutors defended the judge’s ruling and their own legal procedures. Prosecutors added it was “incumbent” on Los Angeles County prosecutors to extradite Weinstein to California.

Weinstein’s February 2020 conviction was seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement against the sexual abuse and harassment of women.

Lauren Young, the only named accuser in the Los Angeles case, has said that the former producer lured her into his hotel room after a meeting in Beverly Hills in 2013 where he allegedly trapped her in a bathroom, grabbed her breast and masturbated before she fled.

Ms Young testified at Weinstein’s New York trial not as a complainant but as one of the witnesses prosecutors called to help establish a pattern of behaviour by Weinstein.

The identities of the three other accusers in Weinstein’s Los Angeles trial have not yet been made public. In total, some 80 women have accused the former producer of sexual abuse in the US and Europe.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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