AFP, published on Wednesday, October 12, 2022 at 08:54
Former film producer Harvey Weinstein is detained in “almost medieval” conditions, in the cell where he waits every day for his trial in Los Angeles, his lawyer was indignant at the hearing on Tuesday.
The ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Shakespeare in Love’ producer, who has long reigned supreme in Hollywood, has been on trial since Monday for the rape and sexual assault of five women in hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles, between 2004 and 2013 .
If found guilty, Harvey Weinstein – who has pleaded not guilty to all counts – could be sentenced to more than 100 additional years behind bars. A sentence that would be added to the 23 years in prison already pronounced during his first trial in New York in 2020.
The first two days of hearings have so far been largely devoted to jury selection. But on Tuesday, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer drew the judge’s attention to his conditions of detention.
The cell where the ex-Hollywood magnate, who appears in a wheelchair, is patient before the hearings is “unsanitary, fetid”, denounced Mark Werksman.
“The conditions are almost medieval. I worry about his health and his ability to survive this torture (…) without having a heart attack or a stroke”, pleaded the lawyer, recalling that his client was 70 year.
The judge, Lisa Lench, assured that she would speak to the officers in charge of his detention during the trial. “I’m not minimizing. I’m just not sure there’s much to do,” said the magistrate.
The jury selection process is still expected to take several days and the trial is expected to take about two months.
The flood of charges against Mr Weinstein began in 2017 and his conviction in New York, whose appeal was dismissed, was a major victory for the #MeToo movement.
In total, nearly 90 women, including actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Rosanna Arquette have accused Harvey Weinstein of harassment, sexual assault, or rape. But the statute of limitations has been exceeded in many of these cases, some dating back to 1977.
He is also charged in the UK with sexual assaults that date back to 1996.
The ex-producer has always assured that all his accusers were consenting.
The charges against him are “unproven, not credible and unfounded”, Mark Werksman had declared in July 2021 to the press, assuring that there was neither forensic evidence nor credible witness to support them.