Justice is a dish best served on both coasts. Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein will be extradited to California to stand trial for 11 counts of criminal sexual assault, a New York judge ruled this week. The predator and former movie mogul is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo.
A grand jury in Los Angeles indicted Weinstein, 69, on sexual assault charges back in April, connected to his alleged abuse of five women in southern California between 2004 and 2013. His legal team managed to repeatedly delay extradition this spring by raising paperwork issues.
During the June 15 hearing, Weinstein's lawyer, Norman Effman, also argued his client needed to remain in New York to be treated for failing eyesight and other health issues. The prosecution called B.S. on that last bit: "It’s Los Angeles. It’s not some remote outpost that doesn’t have any sort of medical care," argued Erie County Assistant District Attorney Colleen Curtin Gable.
Erie County Judge Kenneth Case agreed and ruled Weinstein could be shipped off to the West Coast: "Based upon everything that I’ve read and I’ve heard, I believe that I will respectfully deny your petition, Mr. Effman," Case said. "If California doesn’t come to pick up Mr. Weinstein within a reasonable period of time, certainly, come back to see me." The prisoner dropped his head into his hands as the judge delivered the ruling.
Under California law, Weinstein is entitled to a trial within 120 days of his extradition. But it's not clear exactly when proceedings would begin in Los Angeles. Pretty much all criminal trials were suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the county has only recently starting holding them again, including the buzzy murder trial of real estate heir Robert Durst.
To be clear, the case in Los Angeles is entirely separate from Weinstein's conviction last year in New York. The fact he's facing trial again for serious crimes underscores just how rampant and unchecked his predatory sexual behavior was in Hollywood and beyond. More than 80 women total have accused him of sexual abuse. The odds are high, at least, that Weinstein will die in prison.