Weinstein brought to California to face further rape charges

International

Los Angeles, Jul 21 (AP): New York prison officials have handed convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein over to California to face additional sexual assault charges, ending the former movie mogul's lengthy fight to delay his extradition.

Weinstein, 69, was booked into a downtown Los Angeles jail Tuesday afternoon, records showed. He could be arraigned on 11 sexual assault counts, including four counts of rape, as early as Wednesday morning, according to his LA attorney, Mark Werksman. The district attorney's office had no immediate comment.

Weinstein's lawyers had been trying to negotiate to stop the transfer, but it had been expected to happen soon, his spokesperson Juda Engelmayer said.

"We will be fighting so that Harvey can receive his needed medical care and of course, so that he can be treated fairly," Engelmayer said. "Due process, presumption of innocence and a fair trial are all still his right." A New York judge in June approved Weinstein's extradition to California, denying his lawyers' request to keep him at a state prison near Buffalo, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for a rape conviction last year, until the start of jury selection in the Los Angeles case.

Weinstein's lawyer, Norman Effman, argued he should remain in the New York facility's hospital-like maximum-security setting while receiving treatment for health problems including loss of eyesight.

Weinstein's time in custody in California will count toward his New York sentence, officials said.

Weinstein was charged in January 2020 with 11 sexual assault counts in California involving five women, stemming from allegations in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013. The charges include rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and sexual penetration by use of force.

Weinstein maintains his innocence and contends that any sexual activity was consensual.

The California charges were announced shortly before Weinstein's conviction in New York City on charges that he raped an aspiring actress in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel room and forcibly performed oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment.

He is appealing that conviction.

A lawyer for one of Weinstein's accusers applauded Tuesday's transfer, which was repeatedly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as legal arguments over paperwork and his medical needs.

"The opportunity to hold Weinstein accountable for his actions in California gives voice to the survivors including my client, Jane Doe 4," attorney Elizabeth Fegan said in a statement. "They deserve to be heard and to have Weinstein answer for his actions. Our hope is that a guilty verdict in California will ensure that Harvey Weinstein will spend the rest of his life behind bars – securing justice for women everywhere." (AP) DIV DIV

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