A judge on Wednesday increased Harvey Weinstein’s bail to $5 million, following repeated violations of his ankle monitor system.
Justice James Burke agreed to the prosecution’s request to hike his bail, which had been set at $1 million. The defense claimed that the lapses in monitoring were due to technical glitches. Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi alleged that Weinstein was “panicking” and had deliberately caused the ankle monitor to malfunction in order to evade detection.
Weinstein shuffled into the courthouse on Wednesday with the aid of a walker. His attorney said he will have back surgery on Thursday, following a car crash in August in which he sustained injuries, including a concussion. His attorneys promised that Weinstein would not need to delay his trial, which begins on Jan. 6.
“Should you have more medical conditions, the court will not be terribly understanding,” Burke told Weinstein.
At an earlier bail hearing on Friday, the District Attorney’s office had expressed concern that Weinstein could pose a flight risk, saying he has unlimited resources. Weinstein’s defense argued that their client has appeared in a timely fashion to court and should have his ankle bracelet removed. The defense disputed the prosecution’s claim about Weinstein’s wealth.
At the Friday hearing, the disgraced producer did not use a walker, but did use a cane and had to be helped to his vehicle by two assistants. Weinstein’s frail appearance led to speculation that he was playing up his ailments in a bid for sympathy.
Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s defense attorney, issued a statement on Tuesday saying that such speculation was “mean spirited and false.”
Weinstein faces five charges of rape and sexual assault stemming from two separate incidents. Prosecutors allege that he performed a forcible sexual act on a woman in 2006, and raped another woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty, and maintains that any sexual activity was consensual. If convicted, Weinstein could face life in prison.