Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for coronavirus infection, source says
Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus inside a New York state prison, according to a state source with knowledge of the matter.
The positive test came back Sunday at the Wende Correctional Facility, where Weinstein is being held, roughly 30 miles outside of Niagara Falls, N.Y., according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss Weinstein’s medical status.
The president of the union that represents New York state correctional officers also told Reuters that Weinstein had tested positive and that several prison employees had been quarantined as a result.
State corrections officials have not responded to requests for comment from the Los Angeles Times. On Sunday, the department issued a statement confirming two people had tested positive for the virus at the facility where Weinstein was being housed.
Weinstein’s closest confidantes had not been told of his medical status until midday Monday, according to Donna Rotunno, lead defense counsel in his New York trial. The attorney said she had been making calls to prison officials about Weinstein’s status since Sunday.
Juda Engelmayer, Weinstein’s chief spokesman, released a statement saying his team had been made aware of his client’s medical status but would not be disclosing it to the public.
“While his team is now fully aware of his current medical condition, since Mr. Weinstein executed the proper Department of Corrections healthcare information release form, we are going to continue protecting his privacy and maintain his privacy,” the statement read. “As such, we will not discuss this matter any further.”
Weinstein, 68, was transferred to the state facility last week to begin serving his 23-year prison sentence after he was convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault in Manhattan.
It was not clear when exactly Weinstein was tested, where he contracted the virus or how many people he had been in contact with. He has been placed in isolation and was never held in the “general population” at the facility, according to the source.
The story was first reported Sunday by the Niagara Gazette, citing anonymous sources.
Weinstein had been held in an infirmary ward on Rikers Island in New York City before his transfer upstate last week. At least 38 people have tested positive for the virus at Rikers, according to media reports.
The former mogul’s deteriorating health was a constant issue throughout his six-week criminal trial. Weinstein appeared in a Manhattan courtroom each day with the aid of a walker, the result of spinal decompression surgery he underwent in December, his spokesman previously said.
After Weinstein was convicted last month of a first-degree criminal sexual act against former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and the third-degree rape of once-aspiring actress Jessica Mann, his lawyers told a courtroom that Weinstein was undergoing injections to maintain his eyesight, while arguing for him to be placed on house arrest. Twice since he was convicted, Weinstein had to be hospitalized at Bellevue Hospital after suffering heart palpitations.
Weinstein still faces sexual assault charges in Los Angeles County related to two alleged attacks that took place in Southern California hotels in 2013. Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey said last month she would immediately begin extradition proceedings but added that the process normally takes months and could be slowed further because of the virus and Weinstein’s plans to appeal his conviction in New York.
In a statement, the district attorney’s office said Monday that it had “initiated its request to New York for the temporary custody of defendant Weinstein.” It remains unclear when Weinstein would appear in a Southern California courtroom.
A spokesman for the district attorney’s office declined to say if Weinstein’s positive test for the virus had impacted their actions Monday.
“As for any concerns given the coronavirus pandemic, our office expects that each agency responsible for processing, transporting and housing defendant Weinstein will follow its protocols and public health guidelines,” the statement read.
Times staff writer Richard Winton contributed to this report.
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