Disgraced former Hollywood mogul and convicted rapist, Harvey Weinstein, has tested positive for coronavirus while in prison.
Weinstein, who is currently at the Wende Correctional Facility in Western New York after being sentenced to serve 23 years in prison for his crimes, has been moved to self-isolation after being diagnosed with the virus.
The 67-year-old, who has been accused by a huge number of women, was found guilty of raping aspiring actress Jessica Mann who was in attendance during the court trial. Weinstein was also found guilty of forcing oral sex on production assistant Miriam Haley.
While the news of Weinstein’s ill health was confirmed by The Niagara Gazette, a local newspaper in upstate New York, Imran Ansari, a lawyer for Weinstein, said that his legal team had not been notified of his coronavirus diagnosis: Given Mr Weinstein’s state of health, we are of course concerned, if this is the case, and we are vigilantly monitoring the situation,” he said.
Michael Powers, the president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, was not able to comment on Weinstein’s case specifically but did say that he has ordered the suspension of all “non-essential” inmate transfers during this healthcare emergency. “There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility,” Powers said in a statement.
Weinstein was sentenced to prison earlier this month when Judge James Burke, who speaking at a hearing at the Manhattan Criminal Court, handed out a 23-year sentence for Weinstein. The maximum possible sentence available to the judge for the two combined crimes was 29 years.
The two main victims of the case were in attendance and sat alongside four key witnesses in the shape of Sopranos actress Annabella Sciorra, Dawn Dunning, Tarale Wulff and Lauren Young.
Judge James Burke said in court: “The sentence of the court is as follows: (For) criminal sexual act in the first degree, you are sentenced to 20 years in prison, five years post-release supervision….(For) rape in the third degree, three years prison, five years post-release supervision.”
The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease was first officially identified in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei in China. As of March 23rd, more than 342,410 cases of COVID-19 have been officially confirmed but the actual number is thought to be much higher due to substantial under-reporting of cases.
With more than 14,762 people having died from the virus, COVID-19 has now spread into more than 180 other countries—including mainland Europe, South America and North America. Given the exponential growth in cases in countries like Italy and Spain, the WHO have now stated that Europe was the current centre of the pandemic.