Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is being held in appalling conditions in a cell as he awaits his daily trial sessions in Los Angeles, his lawyer said Tuesday.
The “Shakespeare in Love” producer, who once dominated Hollywood, is on trial for multiple counts of sexual assault against five women between 2004 and 2013.
If convicted of the crimes, which he denies, he could be jailed for more than 100 years, in addition to the 23 years he is already serving for sex crimes committed in New York.
On the second day of his trial in Los Angeles, where the court is trying to whittle down a large pool of potential jurors, lawyer Mark Werksman said conditions in the holding cell where the wheelchair-using Weinstein is kept before the court convenes were “unsanitary, fetid.”
“It’s almost medieval, the conditions. I’m concerned about his health and his ability to survive this ordeal… without a heart attack or stroke,” Werksman told the court. “He’s 70 years old.”
Judge Lisa Lench said she would talk to sheriff’s deputies, who are in charge of detaining Weinstein while he is on trial.
“I’m not minimizing it. I’m just not sure there’s a lot to be done,” Lench said.
Jury selection is expected to take several days. The trial could last two months.
Widespread sexual abuse and harassment allegations against Weinstein exploded in October 2017, and his conviction in New York in 2020 was a landmark in the #MeToo movement.
In June, he lost a bid to have that sex crimes conviction overturned. He has also been separately charged by British prosecutors with the 1996 indecent assault of a woman in London.
In total, nearly 90 women, including Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Salma Hayek, have accused Weinstein of harassment or assault.
Weinstein says that all his sexual encounters were consensual, and his lawyer has previously told reporters that the Los Angeles accusations stem from “many years ago” and cannot be substantiated or corroborated by any forensic evidence or credible witnesses.