A judge has rejected Harvey Weinstein’s request to travel to Spain and Italy later this month to consult on a stage adaptation of “Cinema Paradiso.”
The disgraced producer is awaiting trial in New York in September on charges of rape and sexual assault. He has been fitted with an ankle monitor, and is barred from traveling outside New York or Connecticut without court permission as a condition of his $1 million bail.
In a letter on Tuesday, Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala asked Justice James Burke to permit him to travel to Rome to meet with Giuseppe Tornatore, the director of the 1988 film, and with composer Ennio Morricone, who is 90 and no longer able to travel.
According to a licensing agreement attached to the letter, S2BN Entertainment has paid Tornatore to option the right to produce a stage show based on the film in London and on Broadway.
Weinstein distributed the Italian film, which won the 1990 Academy Award for best foreign language picture. In addition to traveling to Rome for creative meetings, Weinstein also wanted to go to Spain to meet with production designers, music directors, and investors in the project.
The trip was supposed to run from Aug. 12 to 22. Weinstein offered to hire a two-man security detail to monitor him throughout the trip, and offered to be subject to electronic monitoring. He also offered to waive extradition in advance of the trip, in order to further ensure his appearance at trial.
The letter to the judge also included an appeal from Italian attorneys Bruno della Ragione and Filomena Cusano, who noted Weinstein’s contributions to Italian cinema and argued that it was “crucial” that he be allowed to participate in meetings on the project.
“We understand that he will be facing a potentially lengthy trial in the U.S. and that he is confident he will redeem himself during the trial,” they wrote. “In the meantime, we would hope that he be given the opportunity to continue the important work that he has commenced.”
The Manhattan D.A.’s office did not consent to the travel request.
The judge denied Weinstein’s request without explanation. His attorneys argued that he is the victim of “mob justice.”
“Here is a person who is presumed to be innocent, who has adhered to every single mandate of his bail agreement, who has not been able to work in close to two years,” said Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno. “He has been blocked from working in his industry, and when he tries to earn an honest living, is denied by the court. This exemplifies the problem with this current environment of conviction and punishment before trial, yielding to mob justice. That this is even a story is demonstrative of how low we have sank.”