NEW YORK (Reuters) – An “optimist” Harvey Weinstein spent his first full day on Tuesday in a Manhattan hospital, his lawyer said, a day after the former Hollywood film producer was convicted of sexual assault and rape.
Weinstein had been traveling to the Rikers Island prison complex after his conviction, but had instead been hospitalized late Monday evening at Bellevue hospital a few miles away.
His attorney Arthur Aidala told reporters after meeting Weinstein that his 67-year-old client “looked like he was in good shape”, but it was up to doctors when to release him.
“He is a little stunned by the verdict” and “cautiously optimistic” about his possible appeal, said Aidala. “I feel almost encouraged by Mr. Weinstein’s spirits and his desire to continue fighting these accusations.”
Weinstein was convicted of sexually harassing former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013.
The verdict was a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which Weinstein’s case fueled in late 2017 and inspired women to accuse hundreds of powerful men in entertainment, business, media, politics and other fields of sexual misconduct. .
Weinstein faces up to 29 years in prison and is expected to be sentenced on March 11th. His lawyers said he would appeal.
The jury acquitted Weinstein on two major charges, a predatory sex attack, which led to a maximum life sentence.
Aidala quoted Weinstein after the verdict: “I am innocent. I am innocent. How can this happen in America?”
More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He denied the accusations and claimed that any sexual encounter was consensual.
Actress Rose McGowan, who accused Weinstein of raping her, called the belief “a huge step forward in our collective healing.”
Weinstein was a key force behind acclaimed films like “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love”, which both won the Oscars for best film.
He had been released on bail during the trial and had breakfast with his lawyers at a Four Seasons hotel on Monday morning.
But the trial judge, Judge James Burke of the Manhattan state supreme court, ordered Weinstein to be jailed following the conviction, and court officials took him away in handcuffs.
Weinstein appeared fragile and used a walker during the trial.
He was admitted to Bellevue in a unit that provides medical assistance to detainees, after media reports reported that he had chest pain or heart palpitations.
A spokesman on Tuesday said Weinstein suffers from diabetes and hypertension.
Rikers Island Prison, whose main building was built in 1932, has long been plagued by violence and neglect, and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to close it within a decade in 2017.
Prison officials could place Weinstein in a private or semi-private cell to ensure his security.
He would likely wear a light brown suit, indicating that he still had to be sentenced, according to Malissa Allen, a mental health consultant who treated Rikers’ inmates.
Even before the trial began, defense attorneys accused Burke of bias against Weinstein and prosecutors for denying the evidence. They also said the trial should have been moved from Manhattan after the media turned the case into a circus.
Weinstein also faces several charges of crime in Los Angeles in connection with his alleged sexual attacks on two women in 2013.
These allegations were announced on January 6, the same day the jury selection started in the Manhattan case.
Dozens of women have also filed civil cases against Weinstein. His former film studio, Weinstein Co, filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and is in liquidation.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter, Maria Caspani, Karen Freifeld, Brendan Pierson and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Curated by Steve Orlofsky, Noeleen Walder and Marguerita Choy