Los Angeles prosecutors have been pushing to get disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein extradited to LA from New York. Weinstein is currently serving a 23 year sentence in New York for rape and sexual battery. But that isn’t all for the former Hollywood legend; charges in Los Angeles could raise his sentence to 140 years behind bars. The ailing former producer maintains his innocence but prosecutors on the West Coast aren’t buying it. Now, another attempt by the Los Angeles District Attorney (LADA) to extradite Weinstein to LA has once again failed and the deadline has been pushed back to May 30th. Here’s why and what to expect.
Weinstein’s Extradition Delayed
An arrest warrant was issued for Weinstein in Los Angeles a month ago, but so far the convicted sex offender has resisted efforts to crowbar him from his cell in New York to face the music on the West Coast. At a hearing last month Los Angeles and Erie County prosecutors were given time to file the proper paperwork for the extradition after an initial filing held incorrect information.
Fox News shares, “Erie prosecutors did file the revised paperwork and were, along with L.A., ready to move forward with the extradition to take him to trial on the West Coast. However, this Friday, in a virtual hearing, Weinstein was granted time to contest the new extradition request until a May 30 deadline and that would again stall the process. Otherwise, his only chance for a new delay would be up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is currently battling sexual harassment allegations, and that seems unlikely.”
Weinstein maintains to this day that the sex crimes for which he was convicted in New York and is charged with in Los Angeles were consensual. As part of the attempt to delay extradition, Weinstein’s lawyers have cited health concerns, including the fact that he’s losing his vision, has lost several teeth while incarcerated, and needs to receive medical procedures from his current doctor.
Per Fox, “‘We are eager to defend Harvey against these spurious charges, but not unless he is first allowed a fair and lawful extradition process that will account for his ongoing medical treatment in New York and the fact that COVID still prevents him from having an in-person trial in the Los Angeles courts for the foreseeable future,’ defense attorney Mark Werksman referenced in a statement.”
Because Cuomo is unlikely to risk his own neck to pardon Weinstein, chances are good that the extradition will move forward after May 30th.
Weinstein’s Sordid and Predatory Past
It was just over a year ago, in March of 2020, when Weinstein was sentenced. The first trial of a powerful man in and after the #MeToo movement, Weinstein became a symbol of abuse of power and abuse of women.
In New York, the 11 charges were serious – including criminal sexual act in the first degree, and rape in the third degree – crimes which Weinstein was found guilty of.
But that’s not all for the predatory former producer; in Los Angeles, six new rape charges are being added, including forcible sexual assault and forcible oral copulation. That his sentence could increase by over 120 years shows how seriously the Los Angeles District Attorney plans to take these trials of the rich and powerful.
An Otherwise Week of Wins for Victims Rights Advocates
Despite the delay in Weinstein’s extradition, two other powerful men are facing the music for crimes in their past. Kevin Spacey may be charged by British police for six older sexual assaults the actor has been accused of. Spacey has faced assault allegations in the past, but has mostly avoided accountability.
And Josh Duggar of the Duggar Family fame – 19 Kids and Counting – was arrested today and charged with federal crimes. According to TMZ, Duggar has, “… just been hit with charges of receiving and possessing child pornography following his arrest by federal agents in Arkansas.
According to the legal docs, the ’19 Kids and Counting’ star knowingly received child porn in mid-May 2019. He’s accused of knowingly possessing images of child pornography, including images of minors below the age of 12.
Duggar’s been charged by indictment with receiving and possessing child pornography — one count each. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and fines up to $250,000.00 on each count.”
While the horror of the crimes of all three men cannot be overstated, it’s a step forward that they’re actually being held accountable. Prior to the #MeToo movement of recent years, Hollywood big wigs like Weinstein and Spacey, and religious men in positions of power like Duggar, were often spoken of but never charged. Everyone knew to avoid being alone with Weinstein, and Duggar’s own sisters were molested by him as children – and yet, they still walked free and were given free license to continue to assault and rape.
Perhaps now that the tide is turning and these three powerful men are forced to face the music for the horror of their actions, it will open a floodgate of accountability.