Los Angeles authorities on Tuesday transported Harvey Weinstein to California to face charges of rape and sexual assault in the city where he made his name as a movie producer.
The move came after a New York judge ruled in June that Mr. Weinstein, 69, could be transferred, over his lawyer’s objections. A spokesman for Mr. Weinstein confirmed that the transfer had taken place early Tuesday morning.
Mr. Weinstein has been charged with several counts of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation, as well as other counts related to sex crimes, in incidents involving five different women that took place between 2004 and 2013.
A spokesman for Mr. Weinstein, Juda Engelmayer, said that the authorities had picked the former producer up with little warning Tuesday morning from the Erie County prison where he was being held. He said he believed that Mr. Weinstein, who says he is in poor health and frequently uses a walker or a wheelchair, had probably been transported on a federal hospital plane.
“We will be fighting so that Harvey can receive his needed medical care and of course, so that he can be treated fairly,” Mr. Engelmayer said in a statement. “Due process, presumption of innocence and a fair trial are still his right.”
A spokesman for the Los Angeles district attorney declined to comment.
In 2017, Mr. Weinstein was publicly accused by a number of women of sexual assault and harassment, setting off the MeToo Movement and a national conversation about men who took advantage of their power and status to prey on others. The following year, Mr. Weinstein was indicted on rape and criminal sexual act charges in Manhattan.
By now, more than 90 women have accused Mr. Weinstein of sexual misconduct or assault. He has maintained that he engaged only in consensual sexual activity.
After being found guilty in early 2020, he was sentenced to 23 years in prison. (He has filed an appeal asking that the conviction be reversed.) If he were to be convicted in Los Angeles, Mr. Weinstein would serve any resulting sentence in California after finishing out his prison term in New York.
Mr. Weinstein’s legal team fought hard to keep him in New York, arguing among other things that he had severe medical issues that made a cross-country trip a risk to his health. They were able to successfully delay his transfer for months during the pandemic and as New York began its recovery.
But in June, an Erie County prosecutor, Colleen Curtin Gable, argued in court that Mr. Weinstein had declined medical treatment several times. At that appearance, Justice Kenneth Case of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that Mr. Weinstein could be transferred.
Mark J. Werksman, Mr. Weinstein’s lawyer in Los Angeles, said he expected that Mr. Weinstein would be taken to the Los Angeles County jail and would be arraigned on Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. Los Angeles prosecutors have 120 days to bring Mr. Weinstein to trial, under the terms of interstate extradition rules.
Mr. Werksman had asked a California judge to decide whether it would be lawful for Mr. Weinstein to be transported to the state, but said that the district attorney’s office had not waited for that decision before taking custody of the former producer.
The district attorney’s office responded to Mr. Werksman’s request by saying that the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department was capable of providing Mr. Weinstein with the necessary medical care.