Weinstein lawyer decries ‘almost medieval’ cell conditions

Oct 11, 2022, 4:16 PM | Updated: 4:40 pm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s attorney told the judge at his sexual assault trial Tuesday that conditions in the holding cell where he’s being kept after court are “unhygienic” and “almost medieval.”

Attorney Mark Werksman asked Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lisa B. Lench for help with the issue at the beginning of the second day of jury selection in the former movie mogul’s trial on 11 counts of rape and sexual assault.

He said Weinstein is being left alone in his wheelchair for three or four hours in an “unsanitary, fetid” holding cell at the courthouse before he is taken back to jail.

“It’s almost medieval, the conditions,” Werksman said. “He’s 70 years old. I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke.”

Weinstein, and the panel of 71 jurors who were brought in to fill out an initial questionnaire on Tuesday, were not yet present during Werksman’s remarks.

Lench replied that she would talk to deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, which runs the jails and transports inmates to court, but that her power was limited over the matter.

“I’m not minimizing it, I’m just not sure there’s a lot to be done,” she said.

Weinstein, who is allowed to change into a suit from his jail attire for trial, was wheeled into the courtroom soon after, and slowly and carefully climbed into a seat at the defense table.

Werksman then raised the issue again, suggesting Weinstein didn’t have a toilet to use in the cell.

Lench replied, “He’s not deprived of a toilet, there is a toilet in the cell. I’m not going to let the record reflect that he’s deprived of a toilet.”

Werksman said he didn’t mean to suggest there was no toilet at all, but said “It is unhygienic, it is virtually unusable, it is medieval.”

An email seeking comment from the Sheriff’s Department was not immediately returned.

Weinstein’s attorneys have brought up his failing health repeatedly both during his New York trial, where he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for convictions of rape and sexual assault, and in his pre-trial hearings in Los Angeles.

He was hospitalized with chest pains and had a heart procedure immediately after he was found guilty in New York in February of 2020, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 in prison in the first weeks of the pandemic.

His lawyers have said he has diabetes and is “technically blind.” They have asked the judge for permission to see an outside dentist because the one he sees in jail keeps pulling out his teeth.

In court, he appears pale and frail, looking nothing like the bearish man who once lorded over the Oscars every year.

Weinstein’s trial, which comes five years after women’s stories about him gave momentum to the #MeToo movement, is expected to last eight weeks. With the slow process of screening and selecting jurors from a pool or more than 200, opening statements aren’t expected until Oct. 24.


Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


This satellite image from Planet Labs PBC shows Iran's nuclear site in Isfahan, Iran, April 4, 2024...

Associated Press

Israel, Iran play down apparent Israeli strike. The muted responses could calm tensions — for now

Israel and Iran are both playing down an apparent Israeli airstrike near a major air base and nuclear site in central Iran.

12 hours ago

Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La., talks to reporters just after lawmakers pushed a $95 bill...

Associated Press

Ukraine, Israel aid advances in rare House vote as Democrats help Republicans push it forward

The House pushed ahead Friday on a foreign aid package of $95 billion for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and other sources of humanitarian support.

14 hours ago

southern Arizona rancher George Alan Kelly...

Associated Press

Trial of a southern Arizona rancher charged in fatal shooting of unarmed migrant goes to the jury

Closing arguments were made against a southern Arizona rancher accused of shooting an undocumented migrant on his land to death on Thursday.

2 days ago

Donald Trump's hush money trial: 12 jurors selected...

Associated Press

Although 12 jurors were picked for Donald Trump’s hush money trial, selection of alternates is ongoing

A jury of 12 people was seated Thursday in former President Donald Trump's hush money trial. The proceedings are close to opening statements.

2 days ago

A anti-abortion supporter stands outside the House chamber, Wednesday, April 17, 2024, at the Capit...

Associated Press

Democrats clear path to bring proposed repeal of Arizona’s near-total abortion ban to a vote

Democrats in the Arizona Senate cleared a path to bring a proposed repeal of the state’s near-total ban on abortions to a vote.

2 days ago

Most Americans are sleepy new Gallup poll finds...

Associated Press

Most Americans say they don’t get enough sleep, according to new Gallup poll

A new Gallup poll found that most Americans are sleepy — or, at least, they say they are. Multiple factors play into this.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Weinstein lawyer decries ‘almost medieval’ cell conditions