EXCLUSIVE: Still in medical isolation in prison, Harvey Weinstein has not exhibited any signs of severe illness, despite having tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week.
In fact, the convicted sex offender is doing better, I hear.
“He is fine,” a source with knowledge of Weinstein’s condition told Deadline today. “He is over the hump and just mending,” the individual added of the 68-year-old Oscar-winning producer who has been housed at the maximum security Wende Correctional Facility since March 18.
Sentenced on March 11 to 23 years behind bars after being found guilty by a NYC jury of rape and a criminal sex crime, the already health challenged Weinstein was tested at the facility just east of Buffalo soon after his transfer from the notorious Rikers Island earlier this month. That test came back positive and Weinstein on March 22 was whisked into Wende’s hospital and isolation that day.
With at least one other inmate also having testing positive for COVID-19 at Wende, it is expected that Weinstein will stay in isolation for at least 10 more days, a law enforcement source says. However, with the producer’s various underlying medical conditions that predated the coronavirus result, I hear he could stay sequestered for even longer.
Partly that decision may be made by how many more members of the prison population, guards and staff at Wende also test positive for the novel coronavirus or begin to display symptoms themselves in the nearly 1000-capacity facility. As the Empire State has emerged as the hardest hit so far by the pandemic, packed prisons and jails are seen as hotbeds for contagion and a surging spread.
Already New York, California and several other states are working on releasing non-violent and soon-to-be furloughed inmates early on home arrest, parole or another form of leniency to lessen the load and flatten the incarceration curve as confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceed 65,000 domestically.
While there is little to no chance that the just sentenced Weinstein will receive a get out of jail card anytime soon, fellow high-profile sex offender Bill Cosby is moving towards petitioning the state of Pennsylvania to open his cell doors, so to speak. “Nothing has been filed, but we’re exploring all legal actions,” a rep for the 82-year-old comedian once known as “America’s Dad” told Deadline on Wednesday.
Representatives for Weinstein, as well as for New York State’s Department of Corrections did not reply to requests for comment today on the once pugilistic producer and his status.
First arrested New York in late May 2018, over seven months after the New York Times ran their first expose, Weinstein initially faced two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape in New York. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, he had been out on a $5 million bail after entering a not guilty plea on July 9, 2018. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 last year when a new indictment was added.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case, failing to get a sex-trafficking class action tossed out, and the subject of a more recent lawsuit from a woman who says he abused her when she was 16 in 2002, Weinstein is also facing allegations from close to 100 other women who say he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them. Over the past few months, several of those individuals have now said they will not to participate in a floated $25 million over-arching settlement that is part of an overall $45 million deal.
On March 9, several Weinstein accusers openly asked New York Attorney General Letitia James to drop that proposed multimillion-dollar settlement with Weinstein and his former company. Using terms like “insulting” to describe the offer, the accusers noted that the deal in its present form would see millions more for lawyers and former members of the Weinstein Company board with no admission of guilt on the part of Weinstein himself.
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