NEW YORK, N.Y. – A day after receiving a 23-year prison term in his New York City rape case, Harvey Weinstein was in medical and legal limbo on Thursday but indicated through a lawyer that he is still eager to fight looming criminal charges in Los Angeles.
Weinstein, 67, suffered chest pains the day before at the Rikers Island jail complex, where the former movie mogul was initially taken after sentencing in his landmark #MeToo case, officials said. He was transferred to Bellevue Hospital to be evaluated, the second time he has been hospitalized since a jury found him guilty last month of rape and sexual assault.
The situation still hasn’t discouraged Weinstein, one of his lawyers said after visiting him Thursday at Bellevue.
"He has not given up by any stretch of the imagination,” said defense attorney Arthur Aidala. “He wants to fight California, and he wants to win his appeal here. That’s his plan.”
Within hours of Weinstein’s sentencing, prosecutors in Los Angeles announced they were beginning the extradition process to bring him there for an arraignment on charges he raped a woman and sexually assaulted another in 2013.
Los Angeles authorities might decide to pick him up at Rikers Island before he can be processed for a New York state prison assignment, but his hospitalization makes the timing even more uncertain.
“We don’t know what’s happening,” Aidala said. “With Harvey, all bets are off.”
In addition to the heart issues, Weinstein’s lawyers have said, he has been dealing with the ramifications of unsuccessful back surgery stemming from a car crash last summer and a condition that requires shots in his eyes so he does not go blind.
A haggard-looking Weinstein, who used a walker during his trial, sat in a wheelchair throughout a sentencing at which he listened to two of his victims give statements about how their encounters with him tore their worlds apart.
He also heard defense attorney Donna Rotunno describe him as “a sick man” who will need constant care in prison.
“This is a situation where the loss of freedom that he will suffer will not only affect his general overall health, but it will affect his ability to get the type of medical care that he's going to need for the list of issues that he is dealing with,” she said.
In his own rambling statement, Weinstein didn’t dwell on those medical issues, but he spoke about a dashed dream of building a hospital of a different sort.
“Not a hospital like the regular hospital,” he said. “A hospital that deals with rehabilitation and redemption.”