LOS ANGELES - A judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein can be moved from a New York prison to Los Angeles to face sexual assault charges, but his attorneys filed court papers asking a judge in Los Angeles to block the transfer until he is "medically fit."
One of Weinstein's attorneys, Mark Werksman, said in a statement, "We are disappointed by the judge's ruling, but we are appealing his decision and have filed a habeas corpus petition in the Los Angeles Superior Court to prevent the Los Angeles County District Attorney from transporting Mr. Weinstein to Los Angeles until he can receive the medical care he desperately needs in New York."
The court filing in Los Angeles states that Weinstein is in "urgent need of medical treatment to save his eyesight and that this treatment could take anywhere from 24 to 36 months to complete," asking a judge in Los Angeles to delay the transfer until his medical treatment is completed.
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Another of Weinstein's attorneys, Norman Effman, told Judge Kenneth Case that authorities in Los Angeles could do a "virtual" arraignment to allow his client to remain in custody in New York -- where he is serving a 23-year prison term after being convicted of a criminal sex act against a former production assistant and raping an aspiring actress -- while awaiting trial in Los Angeles.
A delay in the transfer would allow Weinstein to get needed medical treatment and then be ready to go to Los Angeles for the start of jury selection in his trial, Effman said.
Erie County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable said she agreed that inmates have an "absolute right" to appropriate medical treatment.
"But they don't get to pick when and where they get the treatment, and there's absolutely nothing in either doctor's report that says that this treatment can't be done in Los Angeles," she told the judge. "It's Los Angeles. It's not some remote outpost that doesn't have any sort of medical care."
Another Erie County prosecutor, Matthew Powers, told the judge that authorities in California had been contacted and that it was his understanding that "any attempt to bring Mr. Weinstein to California would not happen until the absolute end of this month and probably more likely in the first half of July."
The judge denied the defense's request for a 10-day stay in the order.
In the court papers filed in Los Angeles, the defense alleges that "the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office is seeking to transport and hold petitioner in unacceptable conditions because transporting him here necessarily means delaying or denying the specialized medical treatment he requires, which could result in irreparable harm to petitioner's eyesight."
"As such, this court should order the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office to release petitioner and allow him to remain in the physical custody of New York State until such a time as he is medically fit to proceed to be transported and stand trial," the defense wrote in the Los Angeles filing.
Weinstein is reportedly facing a sealed indictment in Los Angeles involving the same 11 counts for which he was initially charged. The indictment would allow prosecutors to move forward with the trial more quickly.
Weinstein was initially charged in January 2020 with sex-related charges involving three women. Last October, prosecutors filed additional charges against him alleging that he sexually assaulted two other women in Beverly Hills.