A Manhattan judge upped Harvey Weinstein's bail on Wednesday, in line with the prosecution's allegation that the disgraced movie mogul had been playing it fast and loose with his electronic ankle monitor. Following the district attorney's request from Friday's hearing, Judge James Burke escalated Weinstein's bail from $1 million. The defense team was given the option of paying $5 million cash bail, or a $50 million security bond partially secured at 10 percent, or a $2 million insurance company bond. They chose the last one.
Weinstein's trial on charges of rape and sexual assault — allegations originally surfaced by back-to-back reports in the New Yorker and NY Times, which Weinstein has "unequivocally denied" — begins January 6th, and in the interim, he is barred from traveling outside the country. Having given up his passport, he may not apply for a new one, and has to let the court know before he leaves New York or Connecticut. He's technically been wearing an ankle monitor, but reportedly hasn't been too fastidious about keeping it fully functional.
Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi reportedly told the court that Weinstein had repeatedly "mishandled" his monitoring system, charting 57 violations in under two months. Illuzzi also said that she does not believe any of those incidents to have been accidents: According to prosecutors, Weinstein (who has recently been spotting soaking up the local nightlife) keeps leaving the two parts of his monitor in different places, making him impossible to locate.
"Here’s a man who has [run] multi-million dollar businesses, and has juggled many, many issues at the same time," Illuzzi reportedly said Friday. "It defies logic to believe that he cannot navigate taking his device with him when he travels outside his home." And further, she added, "None of those violations — none of the ‘bracelet gone’ violations — were accidental or in any way forgetful on the part of the defendant."
Weinstein's attorney, Donna Rotunno, reportedly attributed these errors to "technical glitches." Pointing out that the monitoring system now seems to be working just fine, Illuzzi speculated that it may have been the threat of higher bail that made Weinstein more mindful of the bracelet.
As if to emphasize Rotunno's previous assertion that all the bad press had taken a toll on Weinstein's health, the 67-year-old arrived in court on Wednesday with the assistance of a walker. Rotunno said he'd be undergoing back surgery on Thursday; Burke reportedly told Weinstein that, if he had any other medical conditions crop up, "the court will not be terribly understanding."
Also on Wednesday, the NY Times reported that Weinstein and his film studio struck a tentative, $25 million settlement with the more than 30 actors and former employees who've accused the producer of sexual misconduct and abuse. Mired in bankruptcy proceedings, the Weinstein Company has reached a $47 million settlement "to close out [its] obligations," per the Times. This would be part of that, and would be paid by the insurance companies that represent the now-defunct studio, pending court approval and the signatures of everyone involved. As much as $12 million of that would subsidize a portion of the legal costs for Weinstein, his brother, and his board, and would close many — but not all — of the lawsuits against the defendant. It would also leave complainants to divvy up a relatively small pie. Per the Times:
Even if the proposed deal goes through, its terms would come with uncertainty. Eighteen of the alleged victims would split $6.2 million, with no individual getting more than $500,000. A separate pot of money, $18.5 million, would be set aside for those who were part of a class-action case, the New York attorney general’s suit and any future claimants, with a court-appointed monitor allocating payments based on the severity of the harm alleged.
One of the alleged victim's lawyers told the Times that, "under the circumstances," this was the best they could do to ensure their clients still received some kind of compensation. But attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, whose client walked away from the deal, which would bar her from going after Weinstein's board and insurance companies, issued a statement today saying, "We reject the notion that this was the best settlement that could have been achieved on behalf of the victims. It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind non participating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein Company itself."