Harvey Weinstein is heading for California

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

As the title suggests, former Hollywood mogul and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has a trip coming up in the next few weeks that will take him back to California. But he won’t be hanging out with his old film industry pals in Hollywood. He’ll be heading for a jail cell in Los Angeles to await trial on a significant number of charges involved alleged sexual assaults on five more women. His attorneys have been fighting extradition to California since last year because of not only prior pandemic travel restrictions, but also because of his allegedly failing health. The judge in the case rejected all of those arguments and declared that he was satisfied that Weinstein was able to safely make the trip. (Associated Press)

A New York judge on Tuesday approved disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s extradition to California, where he faces additional sexual assault charges, ending a legal fight prolonged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the defense’s concerns about Weinstein’s failing health and a squabble over paperwork.

Judge Kenneth Case said there was no reason to delay Weinstein’s transfer any longer, denying his lawyer’s request to keep him at a state prison near Buffalo — where he is serving a 23-year sentence for a rape conviction last year — until the start of jury selection in the Los Angeles case.

Los Angeles authorities plan to collect Weinstein, 69, from the Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, New York, at the end of June or in early July, prosecutors said at Tuesday’s extradition hearing in Buffalo, giving Weinstein’s lawyer time to appeal Judge Case’s decision.

There seems to be some dispute over precisely how bad Weinstein’s medical condition actually is. His attorney provided a list of serious ailments allegedly plaguing his client, ranging from diabetes and coronary artery disease to arthritis. He also claims that Weinstein has severe but unspecified eye ailments that have significantly impaired his vision. But when a prison ophthalmologist prescribed treatment for him, the prisoner rejected it, saying he “wasn’t psychologically ready for it.” They went through multiple ophthalmologists trying to find one he was willing to be seen by. That doesn’t exactly sound like someone desperately seeking medical help.

If Weinstein’s medical issues are even half as bad as his attorney claims, he’s probably already looking at a life sentence. He’s currently serving a 23-year sentence in Buffalo, New York for his previous convictions, and even with perfect behavior, he would be unlikely to have a shot at parole for almost ten years. He’s 69 years old now, so someone in his alleged condition probably isn’t likely to make it to 80 inside of a prison.

But that’s not the end of his problems. If he goes to trial in Los Angeles as expected, he’s looking at eleven more charges brought by five different women, ranging from rape and forcible oral copulation to sexual battery and more. He could easily rack up another twenty years or more and there’s no assurance he would be allowed to serve them concurrently with the charges he received in New York.

Assuming Weinstein is guilty of all these things (and the accounts being supplied by the victims are certainly compelling) he may wind up being an object lesson and a negative role model for society, particularly among the rich and powerful. Harvey Weinstein spent most of his life living in luxury and traveling in elite circles. He viewed the women who were unfortunate enough to be drawn into his circles as objects that were there for the taking, trusting that his wealth, power, and influence would make him untouchable by the law. Now his money and his freedom are gone and he may very well die as a blind, crippled old man in a jail cell. Perhaps there is still some justice in this world after all.