Prosecutors seek to up Harvey Weinstein’s bail, citing violations

December 7, 2019

By Brendan Pierson

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has at times failed to wear a required electronic tracking device, New York prosecutors said Friday, asking a judge to increase his bail to $5 million, from $1 million, as he awaits trial on sexual assault charges.

Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi made the request at a hearing before Justice James Burke in Manhattan state court. She said Weinstein had failed to wear an electronic transmitter that works in tandem with his ankle bracelet on “numerous” occasions.

“It is the people’s position that none of those ‘bracelet gone’ violations were accidental,” she said.

Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, said the violations were a “technical” problem and that her client had never tried to flee, arguing that there was no need to increase his bail. She noted that he had always appeared on time for every court date.

Burke did not make a decision, but scheduled another hearing on the issue for next Wednesday.

Weinstein, 67, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted two women, one in 2006 and another in 2013. His trial is scheduled to begin on Jan. 6, 2020.

Weinstein has been accused of sexual misconduct dating back decades by more than 70 women. He has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters were consensual.

The accusations against Weinstein helped spark the #MeToo movement in late 2017, in which hundreds of women have claimed sexual misconduct by powerful men in entertainment, business, media, politics and other fields.

In addition to the two main accusers in the case, prosecutors have said they intend to call other women to testify at trial in order to establish a pattern of behavior.

Weinstein has sought to block some of that testimony. Burke has not ruled on the issue.

Weinstein could face a life sentence if found guilty. Burke last week denied Weinstein’s bid to dismiss some of the charges.

(Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Richard Chang)

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