NY Judge Tightens Pretrial Vise on Harvey Weinstein

MANHATTAN (CN) — On a metal walker studded with tennis balls, Harvey Weinstein pushed himself out of criminal court Wednesday with increased bail conditions after prosecutors alleged that the 67-year-old movie mogul been derelict with his ankle monitor.

Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives for a Wednesday court hearing in New York. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, senior trial counsel for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, noted at a hearing last week that Weinstein was missing and nonresponsive for hours on 57 occasions in September and October when the ankle bracelet monitoring his movements went out of service. Weinstein’s defense attorneys dismissed the purported violations as “technical glitches” that were resolved by buying extra batteries, but the government said they justified quintupling Weinstein’s cash bond to $5 million.

Manhattan Supreme Judge Burke cleared Weinstein’s previous $1 million bail Wednesday and gave Weinstein three options as mandated by the state’s new bail-reform law: a $5 million cash bail, a $50 million security bond partially secured at 10%, or a $2 million insurance company bond, each with a 72-hour surety.

Judge Burke said that choices he presented Wednesday were the least restrictive conditions to ensure Weinstein’s return to court.

Through his attorneys Wednesday, Weinstein chose the insurance company bond, which will be handled by prominent New York bail bondsman Ira Judelson. 

Under the new bail reform that goes into effect in 2020, pretrial defendants cannot be required to pay for their pretrial monitoring services. Judelson will now responsible for ensuring Weinstein’s trial appearance and administering his ankle monitor. 

Defense lawyer Donna Rotunno told reporters Wednesday that Weinstein is effectively not paying any additional bail with the insurance company bond, other than the cash and other assets that was originally posted on his original bond.

Increasingly unhealthy in appearance, Weinstein is set to undergo back surgery Thursday for pain arising from an August car crash in Bedford, New York.

At the end of Wednesday’s hearing, Burke advised Weinstein that the “court would not be terribly understanding” if he were to miss any future hearings for medical reasons.

Weinstein faces a life sentence if convicted on five felony charges, including two counts of predatory sexual assault, two counts of criminal sexual act in the first degree, rape in the first degree, and rape in the third degree. His trial is set to begin Jan. 6, 2020.

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