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Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein appears headed back to California to face charges of sex abuse.
Weinstein took part in an Erie County, New York, court proceeding on Monday to hear his fate in ongoing extradition proceedings to send him back to Los Angeles. Wearing a rust-colored prison sweatshirt and with a walker at his side, Weinstein appeared via video link from a New York State maximum-security prison, the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo, where he is currently serving 23 years in prison on rape and sexual assault charges — a conviction he recently appealed.
As Erie County Judge Kenneth Case entered the courtroom, Weinstein drew forward in his chair to learn his fate in ongoing extradition proceedings involving prosecutors in California, which includes an arrest warrant and a sealed indictment after grand jury proceedings.
Judge Case set an April 30 court hearing ahead of likely setting a date for Weinstein to be extradited to California. During Monday’s hearing, the court heard from Norman Effman, an attorney for Weinstein, who asked for a delay on a likely extradition to allow his client to undergo key medical procedures now scheduled by the New York prisons system.
He also requested that Weinstein be virtually arraigned on the California indictment from New York to give more time for his medical treatments. “It seems disruptive to undo what New York State has done to care for a person in their custody, and to ensure that he is receiving appropriate medical care,” Effman told Judge Case.
At the same time, Weinstein’s legal team — which included Mark Werksman, a California attorney retained by Weinstein and observing the proceedings from Los Angeles — appeared resigned to their client eventually returning to California to face new criminal charges.
“We’re not trying to avoid what will happen in California. We believe there is not only a defense to these charges, but a very good defense to these charges. And we believe that it will result in an acquittal,” Effman told the court. Prosecutors in Los Angeles have been trying to pull Weinstein back to California to face charges of sex abuse, and Monday’s New York court proceedings dealt with a temporary custody request application by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
In California, Weinstein was charged with four counts of rape and sexual battery, which stem from accusations by two women who say Weinstein attacked them in hotels in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills in 2013.
“We believe the evidence will show that the defendant used his power and influence to gain access to his victims and then commit violent crimes against them,” L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said when Weinstein was charged.
The L.A. charges carry a potential sentence of up to 28 years in state prison. In New York, Weinstein was convicted of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and third-degree rape.
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