Harvey Weinstein's lawyer argues he has 'almost medieval' cell conditions

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Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer told the judge in his sexual assault trial on Tuesday that his client’s living conditions 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 disgraced movie mogul’s trial on 11 counts of rape and sexual assault.

Werksman said that Weinstein is being left alone in his wheelchair for several hours in an “unsanitary, fetid” holding cell.

Harvey Weinstein interacts with his attorney Mark Werksman in court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 4 2022.

Harvey Weinstein interacts with his attorney Mark Werksman in court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 4 2022.
(Etienne Laurent/Pool Photo via AP)

“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.”

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Weinstein and the potential jurors were not present when Werksman made his claims to the judge.

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.

Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault and rape trial in Los Angeles is currently on day two of jury selections.

Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault and rape trial in Los Angeles is currently on day two of jury selections.
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

“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 for trial, was wheeled into the courtroom soon after, and slowly and carefully climbed into a seat at the defense table.

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Werksman then raised the issue again, suggesting Weinstein did not 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.”

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is one of several accusers in the Harvey Weinstein trial that is set to testify.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom is one of several accusers in the Harvey Weinstein trial that is set to testify.
(Kevork Djansezian)

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

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Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to 11 counts of rape and sexual assault involving California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s wife, Jennifer Siebel, and four other women. The four other women will testify as “Jane Doe” during the trial in a Los Angeles court, where jury selection began Monday.

Weinstein, 70, is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence following a conviction in New York. Weinstein was granted permission to take his appeal of his 2020 sex crime conviction to the New York State Court of Appeals.

Harvey Weinstein listens in court during a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles in July.

Harvey Weinstein listens in court during a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles in July.
(ETIENNE LAURENT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

In court on Tuesday, Weinstein appeared pale and frail, looking nothing like the bearish man who once lorded over the Oscars every year.

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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 of more than 200 people, opening statements are not expected until October 24.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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