Weinstein Seeks Suspension of Civil Suit Citing Poor Health
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyer has requested that a federal judge in New York suspend a civil lawsuit brought against him by a former producer, citing his client’s declining health.
On Thursday, Imran Ansari – Weinstein’s attorney – filed the request for a stay in the proceedings that include criminal charges brought in Los Angeles.
Alexandra Canosa, an executive producer of Netflix’s “Marco Polo,” first filed the lawsuit against Weinstein in 2017. The suit accuses him of committing sexual harassment and rape in multiple locations, including Budapest, Malaysia, Los Angeles, and New York. The suit also cites prolonged intimidation.
Weinstein’s representatives on Thursday said that, despite testing negative for COVID-19, he currently struggles with multiple health problems in prison.
In a motion filed on Thursday, Ansari wrote, “Mr. Weinstein’s health has had a dramatic decline this week, as heavily reported in the media. These health concerns make it practically impossible to conduct his deposition and impedes his fundamental right to participate in his defense. Therefore, on these grounds alone, the deposition should be stayed.”
Ansari also cited his client’s impending criminal case in Los Angeles, which includes several felony counts for sex crimes. The case’s continuation will allegedly put Weinstein at a “severe risk of incrimination.”
Ansari said, “In the absence of a stay, Mr. Weinstein’s constitutional rights to defend himself against the criminal allegations are unreasonably and unfairly burdened.” He claims Weinstein would be forced to make the difficult choice between potential jury prejudice ensuing from the civil litigation if he asserts his Fifth Amendment privilege, or potential jury prejudice in the criminal litigation if he waives that privilege in said civil litigation.
Barry Kamins — another attorney representing Weinstein — stated during a virtual hearing to judge at the Appellate Division First Department that, “Weinstein’s physical and mental condition has so deteriorated, I do not think it’s an overstatement to say that if he is not released as part of this application, his chances of surviving in prison are rather low.”
He added that Weinstein’s current condition has left him “almost blind,” and cited him being on 20 medications, in addition to being wheelchair-bound.
Weinstein’s lawyers are reportedly filing a $2 million bail application in a pending case involving rape.
Thomas Giuffra — Canosa’s attorney — issued a statement Friday: “Despite being convicted of rape and now residing in a penitentiary, Weinstein continues to attempt to delay justice for the survivors of his evil acts. This is not surprising as he will never want to submit to questioning regarding his serial acts of abuse.”
Weinstein was sentenced in March 2020 to 23 years in prison after being found guilty of third-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act. He is currently serving his sentence at the Wende Correctional Facility in Buffalo.