Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys are running out of ways to stall his extradition to Los Angeles to face 11 charges of rape and sexual assault.
Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence at a maximum security prison near Buffalo, N.Y. His attorneys have sought to delay his extradition as long as possible, arguing that his treatment for a host of health issues should not be interrupted. Earlier this month, his attorneys argued that the extradition paperwork was not in order, and won a brief reprieve.
But prosecutors have since resubmitted the extradition request, and Weinstein’s extradition now appears all but inevitable. At a hearing on Friday morning, Erie County Judge Kenneth Case indicated that he will be sent to Los Angeles in 30 days unless Gov. Andrew Cuomo intervenes.
“We don’t need to come back,” the judge said. “He has 30 days to contest the arrest or have the governor disapprove of the transfer.”
Weinstein faces 11 counts of rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles, which carry a theoretical maximum sentence of 140 years. The extradition was first filed nearly a year ago, but has been repeatedly delayed due to COVID restrictions in the Los Angeles court system.
Weinstein appeared remotely from a room at the Wende Correctional Facility, a prison outside Buffalo. He wore a long-sleeved shirt, and said, “Good morning, your honor,” but otherwise left the talking to Norman Effman, his attorney.
Effman argued at the previous hearing that the extradition paperwork was out of date, because Los Angeles prosecutors had obtained an indictment against Weinstein that superseded the original charges. Effman submitted a motion fleshing out his argument earlier this week. Rather than get into litigation over it, prosecutors submitted a new extradition request based on the indictment.
Effman conceded that his earlier objection is now moot, but argued that Weinstein should be allowed to come back before the judge again to address any objections to the new request. Erie County prosecutor Colleen Curtin Gable said that Weinstein should raise any objections he may have on the new request in the hearing.
“He’s before a court right now,” Curtin Gable said.
Effman also conceded that he now has 30 days to appeal to Cuomo to block the extradition. Effman said he would file a new habeus corpus petition within that 30-day period, which would bring the matter back to the Buffalo courtroom yet again.
Another Weinstein attorney, Mark Werksman, said after the hearing that Weinstein looks forward to defending himself in Los Angeles.
“Harvey is eager to defend himself against these spurious charges, but he will only do so after being subject to a fair and lawful extradition process,” Werksman said in a statement.
In a follow-up statement, Werksman added that COVID issues will prevent the Los Angeles court system from holding a trial “for the foreseeable future.” The court system is holding jury trials, though fewer than under normal circumstances. The court also recently announced that the high-profile murder trial of Robert Durst — which was suspended last year due to the pandemic — will resume in mid-May.