New York – Harvey Weinstein was transferred to the infirmary of a notorious New York jail Thursday after undergoing a cardiac procedure at the hospital where he was since he was convicted last month of rape and sexual abuse.
A Weinstein spokesman, Juda Engelmayer, said the procedure performed Wednesday at Bellevue Hospital was “considered successful,” but offered no details. Weinstein was taken by ambulance to the Rikers Island jail nursing unit after doctors said he was well enough to be transferred there.
Weinstein, 67, was originally going to go straight to the Rikers Island jail after his conviction on February 24, but instead was admitted to Bellevue Hospital for concerns about his high blood pressure and palpitations. He spent more than a week hospitalized.RELATED
His lawyer Arthur Aidala, who saw him in the hospital on Thursday morning, said the former Hollywood mogul “is obviously not the image of health.”
In addition to heart problems, lawyers have said that Weinstein is dealing with the ramifications of a fruitless back surgery resulting from a car accident last year and a condition for which he receives injections in his eyes so as not to lose his sight.
Weinstein used a walker to enter and leave the court during his trial.
“He is obviously not happy where he is. But he is lucid and realistic about everything. He is still in a state of disbelief,” Aidala said.
Weinstein must return to court on Wednesday to hear his sentence. He was found guilty of sexual assault for giving a woman oral sex by force in 2006 and rape in the third degree for her attack on another woman in 2013.
For the first of the charges, he faces between five and 25 years in prison; for the second, a maximum of four years. The judge could dictate that sentences be served consecutively.
Weinstein was acquitted of charges of predatory sexual assault that could have put him for life behind bars.
After his bail was revoked when he was convicted, Judge James Burke requested that he be placed in the jail’s infirmary. There, he said, he would have “something equivalent to protective custody.”
Martin Horn, a former commissioner of the city’s correctional department, said that despite his name, the infirmary looks more like a jail than a hospital unit.
Built in 1932 as the original Rikers Island Hospital, the infirmary now has smaller blocks of 10 cells that are used as protective units for patients who can be targeted by the general prison population, as sexual aggressors and law enforcement.
Horn said that city jails have specialized units for people with disabilities, but that prisoners with serious medical needs are often sent to the prison unit at Bellevue Hospital.
A plan approved last year calls for closing the Rikers Island complex by 2026 and replacing it with four smaller prisons around the city. Rikers has become synonymous with violence and neglect, while the new prisons would be more human and modern.