Harvey Weinstein can be extradited to California, judge rules

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Harvey Weinstein Can Be Extradited To California, Judge Rules
Los Angeles prosecutors plan to extradite Harvey Weinstein between late June and mid-July. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty
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By Jonathan Stempel

A judge on Tuesday cleared the way for Harvey Weinstein to be extradited to California from New York to face rape and sexual assault charges, nearly a year after Los Angeles prosecutors asked that the convicted former film producer be moved.

Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case in Buffalo, New York, rejected arguments by Weinstein's legal team that the paperwork for the move had not been done, and that Weinstein (69) should stay in New York to get needed medical care.

“If California doesn't come to pick up Mr.Weinstein within a reasonable period of time, certainly come back to see me,” Case told Norman Effman, a lawyer representing Weinstein.

Los Angeles prosecutors plan to extradite Weinstein between late June and mid-July so he can face an 11-count indictment accusing him of attacking five women from 2004 to 2013.

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Mark Werksman, another lawyer for Weinstein, said in an email that Weinstein is appealing Case's decision and asking a Los Angeles judge to block the extradition “until he can receive the medical care he needs in New York.”

The office of Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon first sought Weinstein's extradition last July, but it was delayed in part by the Covid-19 pandemic. It had no immediate comment on Tuesday's ruling.

Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison term following his February 2020 conviction in Manhattan for sexually assaulting a production assistant in 2006 and third-degree rape of an aspiring actress in 2013.

He is appealing his conviction and sentence, and has denied having nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Weinstein has been locked up since last spring at the maximum-security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, where he attended Tuesday's hearing by video link.

Medical care

Effman has said Weinstein, a diabetic, has suffered from cardiac, dental and back problems and was “almost technically blind,” and at the hearing proposed letting him stay in New York until the Los Angeles trial began.

Colleen Curtin Gable, a New York prosecutor appearing on behalf of Gascon, countered that Weinstein could get medical care he needs in California.

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“Los Angeles has some of the best medical care in not only the country but in the world, so all of the medical issues can certainly be addressed elsewhere,” she said.

Weinstein's conviction is now seen as a watershed moment in the #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment by men.

The Los Angeles charges include forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint, and sexual penetration by use of force. If convicted, Weinstein could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Weinstein co-founded the Miramax film and television company, whose hit independent movies include Shakespeare in Love and Pulp Fiction.

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