Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers complained of an “unsanitary, fetid” holding cell they say is endangering the health of the disgraced movie mogul, who was in court Tuesday for the second day of his Los Angeles trial on rape and sexual assault charges.
Before the jury pool entered the courtroom for a second day of selection, Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman asked the judge if he could raise a separate issue, according to a pool report provided by The Associated Press.
Werksman told Judge Lisa B. Lench that Weinstein was being made to stay as long as 3-4 hours, alone in his wheelchair, in a disgusting cell with an unusable toilet while awaiting transfer back to his usual cell at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
“It’s almost medieval, the conditions,” Werksman said, noting that Weinstein has “health issues” and submitting letters from four different doctors. “He’s 70 years old. … I’m worried about him surviving this ordeal without a heart attack or stroke.”
Lench assured Werksman that she would “talk to the deputies about it.”
The judge noted later that deputies “don’t have an excess of wheelchair vans to come pick him up when he’s ready.”
Wearing a dark suit and blue tie, Weinstein appeared later seated in court Tuesday morning as 71 potential jurors filed in. Weinstein did not attempt to stand this time, but did speak to them for the first time after his lawyers introduced him.
“Hi everyone,” he said.
Jurors are still required to wear masks in Los Angeles. According to the pool report, Weinstein and his lawyers were the only unmasked people in the room.
The judge began instructing potential jurors on consuming media, something she will do over the next couple of weeks as lawyers narrow down their pool and seat a jury.
Weinstein is left alone at lawyers’ table. He engages in conversation with deputy, words not decipherable.
Jury selection resumes Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. Pacific.
Weinstein was convicted in a New York court in 2020 of sexual assault and rape and is serving a 23-year sentence. His appeal of that conviction has been granted, but will await the outcome of the Los Angeles trial, which is expected to see a broader range of testimony – including possibly from Weinstein himself.
Kelly Hartog contributed to this report.