Weinstein is one of many criminal defendants being called into court this month to be informed of the new laws. For many, these hearings will lead to either the release of individuals who are held in jail on bail or, for people who have already paid, a refund of the money.
The Oscar-winning producer has been out on a $1 million bail awaiting trial on charges that carry a possible sentence of life in prison. He has denied all accusations since his arrest last year.
The court also restricted his travel to the United States and required that he wear an ankle bracelet; Weinstein has paid for his two monitoring bracelets. Under the new laws, as of Jan. 1, his bail conditions will not be permissible, in part because criminal defendants cannot fund their own devices.
The 67-year-old limped into Manhattan Supreme Court on Friday morning in an oversize gray suit, holding on to members of his team for support. Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the court Weinstein has had numerous bracelet-monitoring violations, arising from moments a device was either out of cell-service range or left at home.
“It defies logic to believe he cannot navigate taking his device with him when he travels outside of his home,” she said, adding that “the people’s position is none of the bracelet violations were accidental.”
Prosecutors asked the judge to set additional bail, requiring him to pay $5 million in cash, a $10 million insurance company bond or a $50 million security bond.
Citing his use of private jets, a multi-firm defense team and the sale of five New York properties, Illuzzi-Orbon said Weinstein has “almost unlimited resources” and that her request was “not overly burdensome on the defendant.”
Donna A. Rotunno, a member of Weinstein’s defense team, disagreed, calling the violations “technical glitches.” Many, she said, were because of the location of Weinstein’s home, which is in Bedford, N.Y., where there are few cell towers.
“Everyone knows exactly where he is. There’s never been an attempt to remove a bracelet,” she said. “There’s been nothing more than an absolute deference to this court by Mr. Weinstein.”
Friday’s bail hearing was scheduled at Judge James M. Burke’s request, not the prosecution’s.
“The last technical glitch was October 7,” Rotunno added. If the prosecution was truly concerned about Weinstein’s whereabouts, she asked: Why was the defense only here now and not months ago?
On Friday, Burke denied prosecutors’ request for a gag order and adjourned the case to Wednesday, when he will rule on the bail request.
In August, Weinstein pleaded not guilty to a new indictment, delaying his trial to January. The new charges — two counts of predatory sexual assault — cover the same conduct over which Weinstein was previously charged, stemming from allegations of sexual assault in 2006 and the rape of another woman in 2013. The indictment also opened the door for another accuser to take the stand against him.
The “Sopranos” star accused Weinstein of raping her at her Gramercy Park apartment during the 1993-1994 winter; New York’s statute of limitations bars the district attorney from charging Weinstein over Sciorra’s allegations, but prosecutors argued that her testimony could help demonstrate a pattern of behavior by Weinstein — which is a necessary element for prosecutors to prove the predatory sexual assault charge.
Earlier this year, attorneys for Weinstein asked Burke to preclude Sciorra’s testimony at trial because it was not presented for a grand jury to consider. On Aug. 8, Burke sided with Weinstein. And so the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented the case to a newly convened grand jury, and Weinstein was indicted Aug. 21 for a third time.
Burke will permit trial testimony from three witnesses alleging uncharged crimes, according to documents released by prosecutors in August. Under a New York evidentiary rule called Molineux, evidence of similar past behavior by Weinstein can be introduced to establish a criminal pattern, notwithstanding a bad act’s omission from the indictment.
The judge also granted the office of the district attorney’s motion asking the court to consolidate the two indictments into a single trial.
Book party: How the New York Times broke Harvey Weinstein