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Weinstein's Lawyer Complains of 'Almost Medieval' Jail Conditions

Harvey Weinstein’s attorney told the judge at his sexual assault trial that conditions in the holding cell where he’s being kept after court are “unhygienic” and “almost medieval.” Attorney Mark Werksman asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa Lench for help with the issue on the second day of jury selection in the former movie mogul’s trial on 11 counts of rape and sexual assault, reports the Associated Press. He said Weinstein is being left alone in his wheelchair for three or four hours in an “unsanitary, fetid” holding cell at the courthouse before he is taken back to jail. “It’s almost medieval, the conditions,” Werksman said. “He’s 70 years old. I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke.”


Lench said that she would talk to deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the jails and transports inmates to court, but that her power was limited. “I’m not minimizing it, I’m just not sure there’s a lot to be done,” she said. Weinstein, who is allowed to change into a suit from his jail attire for trial, was wheeled into the courtroom soon after, and slowly and carefully climbed into a seat at the defense table. Werksman said the toilet in Weinstein's cell "is unhygienic, it is virtually unusable, it is medieval.” Weinstein’s attorneys have brought up his failing health both during his New York trial, where he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for convictions of rape and sexual assault, and in his pre-trial hearings in Los Angeles.

He was hospitalized with chest pains and had a heart procedure after he was found guilty in New York in 2020, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in prison in the first weeks of the pandemic. Weinstein’s trial, which comes five years after his case gave momentum to the #MeToo movement, is expected to last eight weeks.

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