Film mogul Weinstein extradited to California on rape charges

Harvey Weinstein is wanted in Los Angeles for trial on charges of attacking five women from 2004 to 2013.

Harvey Weinstein has been handed over by New York to California to face sexual assault charges [Lucas Jackson/Reuters]

Disgraced former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has been extradited from New York to California on Tuesday to face trial on rape and assault charges, his spokesman and the New York Department of Corrections said.

Weinstein, 69, is wanted in Los Angeles for trial on charges of attacking five women from 2004 to 2013. He was handed over to California authorities on Tuesday morning.

“This morning at approximately 9:25 (GMT 1300) custody of Mr Harvey Weinstein was handed over to the appropriate officials for transport to the state of California per a court order,” the New York Department of Corrections said in a statement.

The charges in California involve alleged attacks on five women in the Los Angeles area and include four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

More than 100 women, including famous actresses, have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct stretching back for decades, spurring the global #MeToo movement against sexual abuse and harassment by powerful men.

Weinstein was convicted in New York in 2020 for sexual assault and rape and is serving a 23-year prison sentence. Weinstein has appealed his conviction.

“We believe there is not only a defence to these charges but a very good defence to these charges,” which would result in an acquittal in California, Norman Effman, a public defender representing Weinstein, said in April.

A diabetic who is almost technically blind, according to Effman, Weinstein suffers from cardiac and back problems and his extradition to California had been delayed for medical treatment, including scheduled eye and dental surgery.

If convicted as charged in Los Angeles, the once-powerful Hollywood mogul faces up to 140 years to life in California state prison.

“The willingness of these latest victims to testify against a powerful man gives us the additional evidence we need to build a compelling criminal case,” Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey had said in a statement when the California charges were brought against Weinstein.

Weinstein’s former production company reached a $19m settlement in 2020 of sexual misconduct lawsuits brought in civil court by multiple women.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies