Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer complains to judge that he’s kept in ‘unsanitary, fetid’ cell before being taken back to jail during his LA sex abuse trial: ‘I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke’
- Attorney Mark Werksman argued in court on Tuesday that Weinstein is being held in an ‘unsanitary, fetid’ cell before he is brought back to jail
- He said he was worried about the 70-year-old’s ability to survive the ordeal ‘without a heart attack or stroke,’ and asked for ‘special treatment’ for him
- Judge Lisa B Lench said she would talk to the deputies about the conditions, but said she did not think much could be done
- At that point, Werksman argued that the toilet in his cell does not work, which Lench denied
- The exchange came as the jury selection for Weinstein’s sexual assault case continued into a second day
- Twenty-six prospective jurors were dismissed after filling out a questionnaire about their thoughts on Weinstein’s reputation
- He is facing 11 counts of sexual assault and rape at the Los Angeles trial set to begin October 24
- If convicted, he faces up to 140 years behind bars in total
An attorney representing disgraced media mogul Harvey Weinstein complained on Tuesday that he is being kept in an ‘unsanitary, fetid’ cell before being brought back to the jail.
Speaking before Judge Lisa B. Lench, attorney Mark Werksman said Weinstein is being held in the ‘unsanitary’ holding cell for three to four hours, alone in his wheelchair.
‘It’s almost medieval, the conditions,’ Werksman said. ‘I’m concerned about his health and his ability to survive this ordeal. He’s 70 years old.’
‘I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke,’ he added, before asking for ‘special treatment’ for Weinstein, whom he described as a ’70-year-old man with health issues.’
Lench replied that she will ‘talk to the deputies about it.’
‘I’m not minimizing it, I’m just not sure there’s a lot to be done.’
She later told Werksman’s co-counsel, Alan Jackson: ‘They don’t have an excess of wheelchair vans to come pick him up when he’s ready.’
But Werksman wouldn’t give up, submitting four doctors’ letters to the court and suggesting that Weinstein doesn’t even have access to a toilet where he’s being held.
Lench, though, immediately dismissed the claim, saying: ‘He’s not deprived of a toilet, there’s a toilet in the cell.
‘I’m not going to let the record reflect that he’s deprived of a toilet. I’m not going to let the record look like he didn’t have access to a toilet.’
At that point, Werksman seemed to go back on his original claim, saying he didn’t mean to suggest there was no toilet.
Instead, he says the one that is provided is ‘unhygienic, it is virtually unusable, it is medieval.’
The exchange came as the jury selection process continued for Weinstein’s Los Angeles sexual assault trial.
Twenty-six prospective jurors have already been dismissed from sitting for the trial, scheduled to begin on October 24, after Lench asked the jurors whether they could be impartial — leaving 56 potential jurors to return on Monday.
Weinstein is seen in a court sketch as his attorney claimed the disgraced film mogul is being held in ‘unsanitary, fetid’ conditions
Weinstein’s attorney also said he is ‘concerned about his health and his ability to survive this ordeal’ as jury selections continued
Weinstein waved from his wheelchair in the courtroom yesterday but did not speak throughout the first day of jury selection
Of the 67 jurors brought in, 56 were allowed to proceed and 11 were dismissed by the judge
Speaking to the prospective jurors on Tuesday, Lench noted that the case ‘has garnered some media attention, and I understand you may have received information about this case, and about Mr. Weinstein generally before you came into this courtroom. ‘
‘You may not, you must not, expose yourself from this point forward to information about this case,’ she said.
‘The information that is put out there, I’m sure everyone makes an effort to be as accurate as possible, but it doesn’t always happen that way. It’s important that you not be guided by what goes on out there in the world.”
‘If something comes before you, don’t read it, don’t listen to it, don’t look for it.
‘That lasts until such time as you are excused. Once you are excused as a juror you may expose yourself to any information that you choose.’
The group had been pre-screened for their ability to serve on the trial, which is set to last for months.
But they were required in court on Tuesday to fill out a questionnaire about Weinstein’s reputation.
After doing so, Lench excused the 15 jurors, and sent a handful of prospective jurors who were still working on the surveys out of the courtroom while Weinstein was dismissed for a bathroom break.
Weinstein never returned on Wednesday, and Lench then cleared the courtroom.
She had previously dismissed 11 prospective jurors from the trial on Monday.
The jury will not be finalized for another two weeks.
Opening statements are scheduled for October 24 and the trial is due to last at least a few months.
Weinstein faces 11 crimes at this trial and a maximum of 140 years. He is accused of various sexual assaults against five women between 2003 and 2014 in Los Angeles.
The case comes at the same time as he is appealing his New York conviction and 23-year sentence.
He insists he has never received a fair trial given the unparalleled attention the allegations against him received.
Among the women expected to take the stand at the L.A. trial is Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.
She says she was raped by Weinstein in 2005, three years before she married her politician husband.
It will be the first time she describes their alleged encounter in detail.
She previously told of having ‘similar’ experiences with Weinstein as his other accusers, but has never given more information about the 2005 incident.
Newsom and his wife, left. She has never spoken at length about her experience with Weinstein but is expected to take the stand. Right, Siebel Newsom in the 2008 movie April Fools Day
THE LOS ANGELES CHARGES AGAINST WEINSTEIN
JANE DOE #1 – Unidentified Italian actress
Forced oral copulation – February 18, 2013
Sexual penetration by foreign object – February 18, 2013
Forcible rape against the same woman on the same day – February 18, 2013
JANE DOE #2
Sexual battery – February 19, 2013
JANE DOE #3
Sexual battery by restraint – May 11, 2010.
‘Weinstein unlawfully touched an intimate part of Jane Doe #3 while she was unlawfully restrained’.
JANE DOE #4 – Jennifer Siebel Newsom
Forcible oral copulation – September 2005
Forcible rape – September 2005
JANE DOE #5
Forcible oral copulation November – 2009
Forcible rape – November 2009
Forcible oral copulation – November 2010
Forcible rape – November 2010
The Los Angeles Times on Monday reported for the first time that Siebel-Newsom is Jane Doe #4.
Weinstein is accused raping and forcing oral sex on her.
Elizabeth Fegan, her attorney, said: ‘Like many other women, my client was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein at a purported business meeting that turned out to be a trap.
‘She intends to testify at his trial in order to seek some measure of justice for survivors, and as part of her life’s work to improve the lives of women.’
Another of the accusers is Lauren Young, an actress and model who testified at his New York trial.
Her attorney, Gloria Allred, confirmed to DailyMal.com that she would be testifying.
Siebel Newsom first accused Weinstein of attacking her in a 2017 article for The Huffington Post.
‘I was naive, new to the industry, and didn’t know how to deal with his aggressive advances,’ she wrote at the time.
Weinstein, 70 – who’s being held at LA’s notorious Twin Towers jail – pleaded not guilty to all 11 charges when he first appeared in court in July last year after being extradited from New York where he’s serving a 23-year sentence for the rape and sexual assault of two women.
The LA charges against him include rape, sexual battery, forced oral copulation and forced sexual penetration involving five un-named women between 2004 and 2013.
And with more than 260 people on the prosecution’s witness list, the West Coast trial is expected to last up to two months.
At a pre-trial court hearing last August, the ex-movie mogul’s attorney, Mark Werksman, tried to persuade Judge Lisa Lench to delay the trial, contending that a ‘firestorm of publicity’ about the upcoming Brad Pitt-produced film She Said could ‘prejudice the jury’ against Weinstein.
She Said, opening in theaters November 18, stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor who wrote an expose on Weinstein in 2017.
And Werksman claimed that billboards, other advertising and social media about the flick will highlight the ‘lurid and negative aspects of this case’ and could influence a jury against his client.
But Judge Lench denied Werksman’s motion to postpone the trial till at least January to allow publicity about the movie to die down.
‘I don’t think there is gong to be a time when there is not media coverage of this case,’ the judge told the court.