Judge Ups Weinstein's Bail To $5M After 56 Alleged Ankle Monitor Violations
New York, NY – A judge upped Harvey Weinstein’s bail from $1 million to $5 million on Wednesday after he learned the movie mogul had regularly disabled his court-ordered ankle monitor and disappeared off law enforcement radar for hours at a time.
New York Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge James Burke that Weinstein had disabled his tracking device at least 56 times in recent months, the New York Daily News reported.
“Here’s a man who has [run] multi-million dollar businesses, and has juggled many, many issues at the same time,” Illuzzi-Orbon told the judge in court on Dec. 6. "It defies logic to believe that he cannot navigate taking his device with him when he travels outside his home.”
“The people’s position is none of the bracelet violations were accidental or in any way forgetful on the part of the defendant,” she insisted.
The Oscar-winning movie mogul is accused of sexually assaulting numerous women in the movie industry has been out on $1 million bail awaiting trial in January on charges of predatory assault, sexual assault, and rape against multiple women, The Washington Post reported.
He arrived at the Dec. 11 hearing using a walker and looking as though he had aged dramatically.
The judge called an initial hearing on Dec. 9 to review Weinstein’s bail after becoming aware of the numerous ankle monitor violations.
Illuzzi-Orbon pointed out that the Hollywood millionaire has “almost unlimited resources” available to him, including private jets and properties, plus multiple law firms working on his case.
But Weinstein’s attorneys called the 56 ankle monitor violations “technical glitches,” The Washington Post reported.
“Everyone knows exactly where he is. There’s never been an attempt to remove a bracelet,” Donna A. Rotunno, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, said. “There’s been nothing more than an absolute deference to this court by Mr. Weinstein.”
Rotunno said the most recent “technical glitch” had occurred on Oct. 7 and questioned why the prosecutors hadn’t been made a stink about the problem two months earlier, The Washington Post reported.
She blamed a lack of cell phone towers near Weinstein’s home and dead batteries in the ankle monitor for the problems, the New York Daily News reported.
“It has nothing to do with any manipulation of the bracelet,” Rotunno told reporters after court.
She admitted that on one occasion, Weinstein had forgotten to attach a piece of the device before he left the house, the New York Daily News reported.
“The minute he realized he forgot it, he made a phone call,” Rotunno said. “Mr. Weinstein is anxious not only to comply with the court order, but is anxious to go to court.”
But the judge took the prosecutor’s recommendation and gave Weinstein three options for his new bail, according to The Washington Post.
Burke said Weinstein could secure his continued release with $5 million cash bail, $50 million partially secured bond, or $2 million insurance bond secured by collateral, calling them the “least-restrictive conditions to ensure his return.”
Weinstein took the third option and posted bond with bondsman Ira Judelson using assets that included stocks, bonds, and cash, according to The Washington Post.
“I’m going to be monitoring Harvey Weinstein on a GPS tracking bracelet from now until the end of trial — guilty or not guilty,” Judelson said.
On Monday, prosecutors also asked the judge to put a gag order on participants in the case but Burke denied the request, The Washington Post reported.
Weinstein’s trial was pushed back to January after he was indicted for a third time in August, this time on two counts of predatory sexual assault.
The new indictment opened the door for additional witnesses to take the stand against the movie mogul, including “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra, The Washington Post reported.
Although Sciorra’s accusations against Weinstein fall outside the statute of limitations on prosecution, she will be permitted to testify to help demonstrate Weinstein’s pattern of behavior, which is required for prosecutors to prove a predatory sexual assault charge.
The judge has said he will permit testimony at trial from three witnesses who are alleging uncharged crimes under the Molineux rule, The Washington Post reported.
Molineux is a New York evidentiary rule that permits evidence of past bad behavior to be introduced for the purpose of establishing a pattern.
Burke also granted the prosecution’s request to combine the two indictments against Weinstein into a single trial, The Washington Post reported.