Harvey Weinstein is “in disbelief,” but “not delusional,” about his conviction, as he remains under care at Bellevue Hospital before being transferred to Rikers Island, where he’ll be put behind bars.
“He’s still in disbelief of the charges he was convicted of. He’s very consistent about his innocence,” one of Weinstein’s attorneys, Arthur Aidala, told Variety over the phone late Wednesday night.
Weinstein was convicted Monday on two felony charges: criminal sex act in the first-degree for assaulting Miriam Haley by forcible oral sex in 2006, and rape in the third-degree for raping Jessica Mann in a New York City hotel room in 2013.
Aidala, who visited Weinstein in the hospital this week, gave some insight into Weinstein’s thoughts about his conviction.
“He’s realistic, and he knows he’s got a major problem. He’s not delusional,” Weinstein’s attorney said. “But at the same time, we didn’t get into anything about him being apologetic. He’s very consistent that he didn’t do anything wrong — he didn’t do anything against anyone’s will.”
“The Jessica Mann charge is ridiculous. They were boyfriend and girlfriend. That was the no-means-no rape — it wasn’t the forcible rape,” he said of the third-degree charge.
“The thing with Mimi,” Aidala continued, “Mr. Weinstein said, ‘If I really violated her, is she really going to have consensual sex with me a few days later?’ That just didn’t happen.”
When Aidala visited Weinstein in his hospital room, his client was in relatively good spirits, the attorney claimed, as they discussed their plan forward to appeal the New York conviction and what the next steps are for the Los Angeles trial.
“I was prepared for the worst. I was expecting to see him in really bad shape, but he wasn’t. He was okay,” Aidala said, describing Weinstein’s hospital room as having an EKG machine. “He was in a good state of mind. Obviously, he doesn’t really want to be there, but it wasn’t like he was sitting there in a cage — it looked like a regular hospital room with a regular hospital bed.” Aidala added that the two ate lunch together, and the food was “pretty good,” since Weinstein is getting regular hospital food for lunch — not prison food, yet.
Aidala insisted he does not know the exact reason why Weinstein was admitted to the hospital, but said that his client is not faking health problems.
A doctor who works for the Department of Corrections made the decision for Weinstein to be placed at Bellevue, rather than Rikers Island, Aidala said, when his blood pressure spiked to the level of needing hospital care. When he was first admitted to the hospital, a spokesman for Weinstein said he was having chest pains. Aidala noted that Weinstein wasn’t able to take his regular medication when he was taken into custody on Monday, so he wasn’t being “properly medicated,” which could have resulted in irregular blood pressure.
“When I saw him, he looked very similar to when I’ve seen him the last two months,” Aidala shared, giving a glimpse into Weinstein’s appearance and health.
The attorney does not know when Weinstein will be transferred to Rikers, but confirmed he will be taken straight from Bellevue to the North Infirmary Complex at Rikers Island. Aidala said a doctor will make the decision on when Weinstein can be transferred.
Weinstein’s sentencing is set for March 11. The former power producer is facing a maximum sentence of 29 years in New York prison. Pending the outcome of their appeal, Weinstein’s attorney, however, doesn’t believe Weinstein will serve anywhere close to the maximum time of nearly three decades.
“No one is really talking about those numbers, except that it sounds good when the news reporters talk about it on TV and the radio,” he said. “We didn’t really talk about the sentencing phase. We really spoke about the appeal and the L.A. trial and the future and what to do next.”
As for his plans to appeal, Weinstein has to put together a legal appellate team. Aidala might be on the team to help identify and highlight “the most egregious mistakes that were made during the trial, both by the prosecutor and the judge,” but writing an appeal is not his expertise, so it’s likely Weinstein will obtain additional lawyers with his defense attorneys from the criminal trial.
Weinstein’s team believes that because of high interest in the case and their client’s notoriety, the judge, Justice James Burke, may give him an unfair sentence, but they hope the judge will consider Weinstein’s charitable work throughout his life when making a determination.
“Most judges, almost any judge, would give him a very low end of that range, based on his age, his lack of any criminal history whatsoever and based on his good deeds and good acts throughout his life,” Aidala said, noting that Weinstein helped raise millions of dollars for Hurricane Sandy relief and was on the board of the Robin Hood Foundation the end poverty in New York. “He was really involved with a lot of philanthropy,” the attorney said.
“If his name was just Harvey Jones and he was a regular guy in society, most judges would sentence him to the low range,” Aidala said. “He was acquitted of three of the five charges.”
But he’s not Harvey Jones. He’s Harvey Weinstein.
“I can only hope for the best,” Aidala said.