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Los Angeles Prosecutors Take First Step to Extradite Harvey Weinstein

Harvey Weinstein coronavirus
JUSTIN LANE/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has filed a detainer on the New York prison holding Harvey Weinstein, the first step in bringing him to Los Angeles for a second trial on rape and sexual assault charges.

Weinstein arrived at Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside Buffalo, N.Y., on Wednesday from Rikers Island. Prison officials are still evaluating his case to determine where he should be permanently assigned to serve his 23-year sentence.

On the first day of his New York trial in January, Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey filed four additional charges accusing Weinstein of raping an Italian actress and sexually assaulting another woman in February 2013. He faces an additional potential sentence of 28 years in prison of convicted on those charges.

Weinstein has been served with the detainer, which functions as a formal notification of the out-of-state charges. It also serves as an instruction to the prison to keep him in custody, though that is a formality in this case, as he will not be eligible for parole for another 19 years.

L.A. prosecutors must still go to a Los Angeles judge to get approval for an extradition request. Given the emergency orders now governing the court system, it is not clear how quickly that will happen. The court system is still doing some criminal proceedings, such as arraignments and sentencings, though trials have generally been suspended out of concern for endangering jurors.

The D.A.’s office declined to comment on whether the emergency measures would slow down the extradition process.

Weinstein would also have an opportunity to challenge the extradition in New York.

Assuming he is extradited, Weinstein would be held in Los Angeles County jail for the duration of the trial. He would then be sent back to New York to complete his prison term there.

Weinstein’s attorneys have said they intend to appeal his conviction in New York. They have also stressed that the 68-year-old ex-producer is in fragile health, and they have requested that he be afforded access to medical facilities while incarcerated.

The New York prison system has suspended visitation through April 11 to try to control the spread of the coronavirus. Inmates are also being shown a video entitled “Put your hands together,” which addresses proper handwashing techniques.