NEW YORK (TMZ) — 11:16 AM PT — Rotunno and Weinstein’s attorney Damon Cheronis tell us, “While he was not convicted on the most serious charges, we are disappointed in the verdict and will be filing an appeal. There are issues in this trial that were extremely troubling, and they prejudiced Mr. Weinstein’s ability to have his case fairly judged. These will be addressed to a higher court.”
They continue, “In the meantime, we are working on assuring that Mr. Weinstein is brought to Rikers’ Island’s North infirmary unit at the Anna M Kross center complex or in protective custody so that he can get the best medical supervision and care possible.
9:58 AM PT — Weinstein’s attorney, Donna Rotunno, tells TMZ, “We knew going in it was an uphill battle from the beginning. The verdict is bitter sweet. An appeal will be filed, this fight is not over.”
Rotunno also says they requested that Weinstein be placed in a medical facility inside the jail while he awaits sentencing. However, it is ultimately up to the Dept. of Corrections where he ends up.
9:39 AM PT — Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance just spoke to the media and made it very clear … Weinstein’s convictions — even on just 2 out of 5 counts — are absolutely a success in his eyes, and not a failure by any stretch of the imagination.
Vance praised all of the women who testified in the case, saying they changed the course of history with their participation and stories … and helped bring the criminal justice system into the 21st century in the fight against sexual violence.
He went on to say what was made clear is that rape is rape, and sexual assault is sexual assault — whether someone reports it in an hour, a year or never … and despite the relationship a victim may have with his or her attacker.
Bottom line for Vance … he says there’s a new landscape on how to look at these cases, and it’s all because the women in this case were heroic enough to take the stand and speak. He says Weinstein will be behind bars for a minimum of 5 years, and his office will take that as a victory … even though life in prison was potentially on the line on the more serious counts.
Vance’s hope with this case is that victims of sexual abuse will come forward and report, and know they will be believed … and that justice will be pursued on their behalf. It doesn’t appear Weinstein’s legal team took the opportunity to address the press Monday.
9:14 AM PT — Weinstein was remanded into custody following the announcement of the verdicts. He will remain behind bars until his March 11 sentencing hearing.
Harvey Weinstein is guilty of 2 of the 5 charges he faced in his NYC criminal trial — but he was found not guilty on the charges that could have put him in prison for life.
The jury found Weinstein guilty of 1st-degree criminal sexual act and 3rd-degree rape. He could get up to 25 years in prison just for the criminal sexual act. However, the jury found him not guilty on 2 counts of predatory sexual assault charges. Those carried a possible life sentence. He was also acquitted of 1st-degree rape.
A jury of 12 people — 7 men and 5 women — finally reached their verdict after 5 days and about 22 hours of deliberations. This comes after an interesting turn on Friday … when the jurors sent a note to the judge asking if they could be hung on 2 counts of predatory sexual assault and unanimous on the others.
The judge told them to go back deliberations, and they worked it out by Monday morning.
As we reported … Weinstein pled not guilty to 5 felony charges relating to sexual misconduct. The charges were based on the accounts of 2 women … Miriam Haley, a TV and film production assistant who worked on “Project Runway,” and former actress Jessica Mann.
The prosecution rested its case 2 weeks ago after 12 days of witness testimony. In total, 6 women testified against Weinstein, including Haley and Mann. Last Tuesday marked the start of jury deliberations.
As we reported … Mann testified under oath that Weinstein began manipulating her as soon as he met her, allegedly forcing himself on her multiple times and raping her at a hotel in Manhattan.
Weinstein’s defense argued he had a consensual relationship with Mann lasting for years after the alleged sexual assault. He maintained all sexual conduct was consensual.
During closing arguments, Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, ripped into the prosecution, saying prosecutors, “created a universe that strips adult women of common sense, autonomy and responsibility,” arguing Weinstein’s accusers acquiesced to sex because they thought it would advance their careers.
However, Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon countered in her closing argument, saying Weinstein’s accusers “were merely ants that he could step on without consequences.”
Originally published — 8:53 AM PT
Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate
FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.
The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.
If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.
As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.
The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.
The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.
BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.
So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.
Anderson Cooper Reveals He’s a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy
NEW YORK CITY (TMZ) — Anderson Cooper is the proud new father of a baby boy … revealing Wyatt Morgan Cooper to the world.
The CNN anchor took to Instagram Thursday night to reveal earlier this week Wyatt was born via surrogate. Cooper said, “As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I’m grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son’s birth.”
As for Wyatt’s name, 52-year-old says it’s in honor of his dad, who passed away when he was just 10, saying, “I hope I can be as good a dad as he was.”
Anderson also shared a sweet message about his surrogate, saying, “Most of all, I am grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, and watched over him lovingly, and tenderly, and gave birth to him. It is an extraordinary blessing – what she, and all surrogates give to families who cant have children.”
Finally, Anderson says, “I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter, were alive to meet Wyatt, but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt, and that our family continues.” His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt died last year.
Wyatt is Anderson’s first child … Congrats!!
Madonna: I Have Antibodies … Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air
Madonna has revealed — via her “Quarantine Diary” — that she’s tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, and already has a bizarre plan for using them.
The Material Girl’s known for posting some eccentric material on her Instagram, but she’s kicked things up a notch during lockdown … the latest being heading outside to “breathe in the COVID-19 air.”
Yep, Madge says now that she knows she has the antibodies, she’s going out for a drive and rolling down the windows. She included the hashtags #staysafe #staysane with her video post.
It’s unclear exactly what M hopes to accomplish by sucking in virus air on her drive, but if she truly has antibodies it means she likely already had the coronavirus. Most scientists agree she should have some COVID-19 immunity, but it’s unclear for how long.
Madonna’s been doing her part in coronavirus relief efforts — both by donating a million dollars and joining the REFORM Alliance in sending 100,000 surgical masks to jails and prisons.
She’s throwing caution to the wind, though, with her own health.
Hey, she’s got a pocket full o’ antibodies and she’s gonna spend ’em!!!
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This Just In…
- Petition Circulating to Ask Judge to Keep Ed Buck in Jail
- RAGE is Latest Venue to Fall Victim to the Pandemic
- Koretz Won’t Back ‘Uplift Melrose’ Plan
- Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of Pedestrian on Sunset
- Beverly Grove Man Charged for COVID Relief Loan Fraud
- County Hospitals Receive 300 iPads for Patients to See Family
- Processions to Cedars Will Salute Healthcare Workers on National Nurses Day