Harvey Weinstein free of coronavirus symptoms -spokesman

by Reuters
Friday, 10 April 2020 00:01 GMT

By Karen Freifeld

April 9 (Reuters) - Harvey Weinstein, who is serving a prison sentence for rape, has no symptoms of the coronavirus, his spokesman said on Thursday, more than two weeks after a union official for corrections officers said the former movie producer had tested positive.

"As of now, it's been 14 days since reports of concern from people inside the prison, and he has no symptoms and no issues," Weinstein spokesman Juda Engelmayer said.

Weinstein, 68, was sentenced on March 11 for sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi and raping Jessica Mann, a onetime aspiring actress.

Michael Powers, head of the state corrections officers union, said on March 22 that Weinstein had tested positive for the coronavirus, which causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.

At the time, Powers said Weinstein had been placed in isolation at Wende Correctional Facility, the maximum security prison east of Buffalo, New York, where Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence. Powers said he was concerned for corrections officers, who he said lacked protective equipment.

Powers could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

"I don't know the exact status of his medical condition," Arthur Aidala, a lawyer for Weinstein, told Reuters on Thursday. "But when I speak with him he sounds fine."

In a statement on March 23, Weinstein's defense team would neither confirm nor deny whether Weinstein had tested positive for the coronavirus. They said statements made about his health had not been authorized by the Department of Corrections and could be a violation of privacy regulations.

State prison officials have said they cannot comment on any individual prisoner's medical record.

Weinstein was one of Hollywood's most powerful producers, known for transforming the independent film industry. He produced the Academy award winner "Shakespeare in Love" and was responsible for other acclaimed films including "Pulp Fiction," "The English Patient" and "Gangs of New York."

Following his March sentencing, Weinstein spent time at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan for heart problems. He arrived in Wende on March 18 from New York City's Rikers Island jail.

Weinstein's conviction was hailed as a victory for the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct by powerful men.

More than 100 women, including famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back decades. He has denied the allegations, saying any sex was consensual.

Weinstein faces separate sexual assault charges in Los Angeles.

Imran Ansari, another of Weinstein's lawyers, on Thursday declined to comment on Weinstein's coronavirus status, but said Weinstein remains in the prison's medical unit for treatment of various conditions he was suffering from prior to his arrival at Wende.

"He's not receiving any special perks or treatment," Ansari said.

(Reporting by Karen Freifeld Editing by Noeleen Walder and Leslie Adler)

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