Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the coronavirus while in prison for rape and sexual assault, a local newspaper reported.
Weinstein, 68, is now in isolation at Wende Correctional Facility in western New York, state prison officials told CNHI newspapers on Sunday. Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, also told The Daily Beast that Weinstein is currently in isolation and “all staff that was in contact with Weinstein were placed in quarantine.”
Weinstein is one of two inmates in the maximum-security prison in Erie County who have tested positive, the officials said. A New York State Department of Corrections spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Beast two inmates at Wende Correctional Facility have contracted COVID-19 but did not name the two individuals.
Juda Engelmayer, Weinstein’s spokesperson, told The Daily Beast on Monday the producer’s legal team “will neither confirm nor deny whether Mr. Weinstein has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus” in order to maintain his privacy.
“While his team is now fully aware of his current medical condition since Mr. Weinstein executed the proper Dept. of Corrections Healthcare Information Release Form, we are going to continue protecting his privacy and maintain his privacy,” Engelmayer said in a joint statement with Weinstein’s attorney, Arthur Arthur Aidala, and prison consultant, Craig Rothfeld. “As such, we will not discuss this matter any further.”
Weinstein’s team did confirm they spoke with the New York State Department of Corrections on Monday regarding their client’s health condition—and praised the organization for not releasing a statement about the producer’s health, which “could be considered a violation of HIPAA regulations.”
Throughout his four-week trial in Manhattan, prosecutors argued Weinstein abused his power in the entertainment industry and preyed on dozens of women for more than three decades with the promise to kickstart their careers in exchange for sex acts.
Jurors heard from six of Weinstein’s accusers during the trial—with most of them claiming the Oscar-winner lured them into isolated places to discuss their futures in the entertainment industry before sexually assaulting them.
He was convicted in February of two counts against him, but cleared of first-degree rape and the most serious charge against him, predatory sexual assault—which carried a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Immediately after the verdict, he was transported to New York’s Bellevue Hospital instead of the Rikers Island jail complex after experiencing high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
Before his March 11 sentencing, the 68-year-old—who had a failed back surgery just before his trial—had a stent placed for a blockage.
Hours after he learned his fate, Weinstein was again brought to the hospital instead of prison with chest pain complaints. He eventually ended up at Rikers, where 21 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19, before being transferred to the intake center at Wende on Wednesday.
The movie mogul was set to remain at Wende for up to eight weeks as officials determined which long-term prison meets his “security, medical, mental health and other needs,” according to general prison guidelines.