Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys objected on Monday to the paperwork submitted to seek his extradition to face sex assault and rape charges in Los Angeles.
A judge in Buffalo, N.Y., set an April 30 court date to hear the objections.
Monday’s hearing was only the second time Weinstein has appeared in court since being sentenced in March 2020 to 23 years in prison. He appeared remotely from Wende Correctional Facility, the maximum security state prison where he is serving his sentence. He used a walker, but smiled while chatting with his attorneys before the hearing. He answered a few simple questions from the judge but otherwise did not participate in the proceeding.
Los Angeles prosecutors are seeking to have Weinstein brought to Los Angeles for trial on 11 charges, which could bring up to 140 years in prison. The extradition process has been delayed several times over the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the latest wrinkle, L.A. prosecutors have filed a sealed indictment against Weinstein. The indictment mirrors the charges that have already been filed, but it allows prosecutors to avoid an evidentiary hearing, which would slow down the process. Once Weinstein is brought to L.A., prosecutors would have 120 days to bring him to trial.
Fox News first reported the indictment on Sunday.
Norman Effman, a New York attorney representing Weinstein, argued that the indictment means that the extradition request is now out of date.
“I have nothing on the indictment level that shows that a judge signed this request,” Effman argued.
Colleen Curtin Gable, an assistant D.A. in Erie County, said that Effman’s opposition came as “a little bit of a surprise.” She also argued that a timely extradition is important for all parties, including the victims in the Los Angeles case.
At a press conference following the proceeding, Erie County D.A. John Flynn accused Effman of engaging in a “sandbag move.”
“Obviously it’s a stalling technique,” Flynn said. “He wants to keep his guy here as long as possible, and prevent him from going to California to face what he’s accused of out there.”
If Judge Kenneth Case approves the extradition request — which is typically a formality — Weinstein would then be able to appeal to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who will have 30 days to decide whether to intervene.
Effman also suggested that Weinstein could stay in New York and appear remotely for pre-trial proceedings in Los Angeles, but said that request had been turned down.
“We know where he is,” Effman said. “He’s not going anywhere.”
Effman also argued that Weinstein is suffering from a variety of medical problems, which require extensive treatments. He said that Weinstein has from dental problems, and has had four teeth removed. Effman said he is also experiencing cardiac issues, back issues, sleep apnea, and is nearly legally blind.
Effman said that Weinstein’s Los Angeles attorneys were seeking to work out a deal with the D.A.’s office on extradition. Those negotiations have failed.
Effman was given until April 20 to file his objections in writing. The Erie County D.A.’s office will respond by April 27.
Weinstein’s attorneys filed an appeal of his conviction in New York last week, arguing that the judge should have disqualified a juror who had written a novel dealing with themes of sexual predation.