Harvey Weinstein violated his bail conditions by mishandling his electronic ankle monitor, which left his whereabouts unrecorded for hours at a time, a New York prosecutor argued on Friday.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi made the claim at a pretrial hearing for Weinstein after he hobbled into court with what his lawyer later described as a back ailment. Illuzi told a judge he had repeatedly violated his bail conditions by leaving home a piece of the monitoring technology that keeps the ankle bracelet activated.
“None of these violations were accidental,” Illuzzi said while arguing that Weinstein’s bail should be raised from $1 million (Dh3.7 million) to $5 million while he awaits trial next month on rape and assault charges.
Defence attorney Donna Rotunno denied it was anything deliberate, blaming “technical glitches” like dead batteries.
“It has nothing to do with any manipulation of the bracelet,” Rotunno told reporters after leaving court. She acknowledged that on at least one occasion, he’d forgotten part of the device when he left the house. “The minute he realised he forgot it, he made a phone call.”
Asked about the health of her 67-year-old client, who was walking with a limp, his tie loosened and one shoe untied, the lawyer responded: “This is tough on anybody. ... He has some back issues that we’re hoping to address this week.”
A judge put off any decision about whether Weinstein should face stricter bail conditions over the alleged violations until next week.
The Oscar-winning producer was in court for one of many proceedings that courts across the state are scheduling to apprise defendants of reforms to New York’s bail system that are set to take effect January 1.
State lawmakers passed a law this year eliminating cash bail for most nonviolent crimes. For poorer defendants facing lesser charges, these appearances could mean release from jail come the new year — or refunds for those who have posted bail.
Those outcomes are unlikely to happen in a case in which Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. He has been free on the current $1 million bail since his arrest last year and maintains that any sexual activity was consensual.
Weinstein’s deep pockets have given him plenty of freedom as he awaits trial on the charges, which could put him in jail for the rest of his life. The disgraced movie mogul has been spotted hobnobbing at New York City nightclubs and getting jeered at a recent actors showcase.