Weinstein has been ditching his ankle bracelet

Yesterday, John covered the latest developments in the civil lawsuits pending against Harvey Weinstein and the fact that they appear to be close to a settlement. That doesn’t mean that the alleged serial rapist and pedophile’s troubles are over, however. There’s still a criminal trial looming in January. But will he show up for it?

That was the question being debated in a courtroom yesterday. The judge was looking over reports that Weinstein’s ankle bracelet had mysteriously “malfunctioned” on numerous occasions and that his movements had not been monitored during those periods. It must have been an effective argument, because Judge James M. Burke jacked up Weinstein’s bail massively, to five million dollars cash and an even larger bail bond. (WaPo)

A Manhattan judge increased bail for former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to $5 million Wednesday after a two-day hearing scheduled in connection with New York’s new criminal justice statutes.

Weinstein had been free on $1 million bail, awaiting trial on sex-crime 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 he wear an ankle bracelet.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told the court Weinstein has had dozens of bracelet-monitoring violations, arising from moments when a device was either out of cell-service range or left at home.

Weinstein’s lawyers are blaming the failures of the monitoring device on “technical glitches” caused by the fact that there are few cell towers near his home. Prosecutors were having none of that explanation, saying that dozens of violations had been recorded and “none of the bracelet violations were accidental.”

How does anyone – even one of the rich and famous – get away with this and not get tossed behind bars? I’m not sure how they were able to determine this, but the District Attorney claimed that Weinstein had “left the bracelet at home” on multiple occasions when going out. Aren’t those things supposed to be locked on your ankle? I mean, if you can just take them off whenever you feel like it, that doesn’t seem like a particularly effective deterrent.

And as I said, the judge must have found the evidence that he’d been ditching the bracelet compelling. Otherwise, why go along with the huge hike in bail?

As the prosecution argued, these new bail figures really aren’t much of an impediment to Weinstein either. They note that he’s sold multiple properties in the New York City area recently and can pretty much toss away ten million dollars without losing much sleep over it.

So if losing the bail money isn’t that much of a deterrent and he’s already shown a willingness to ditch his ankle monitor, is Weinstein a genuine flight risk? Well, he did use to be friends with Roman Polanski and he’s seen how that scumbag child rapist has been able to avoid the long arm of the law for decade after decade. And the charges against him are serious enough that he could conceivably wind up spending the rest of his life in prison. Would it be so crazy to think that he’s considering slipping away in the night?

It’s true that they confiscated his passport, but as the DA pointed out, he has access to private jets and yachts where the rules aren’t always so tightly enforced. If Weinstein is sitting on a sufficiently large pile of cash and can figure out a way to somehow transfer it to a country that has no extradition treaty with the United States, the thought must have crossed his mind by now.

A less famous and powerful person pulling all of these hijinks would be cooling his heels in jail right now while awaiting trial. Weinstein allegedly has back surgery scheduled this week, but police could be assigned to keep an eye on his room and escort him when he’s able to be discharged. The fact that he’s still footloose will come back to haunt this court if Harvey Weinstein mysteriously disappears over the holidays and shows up later in Cuba or somewhere similar.