Harvey Weinstein tests positive for coronavirus in prison

Weinstein, who turned 68 on March 19, is being isolated at maximum security Wende Correctional Facility, in a town near Buffalo in upstate New York.

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(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 24, 2020 Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City. - Disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, US media reported on March 22, 2020. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City in February.

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Former movie mogul and convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein has been placed in isolation in a New York prison after testing positive for the coronavirus, the head of the state correctional officers union said Monday.

The revelations was followed by a statement from Weinstein’s spokesman and lawyers condemning the disclosure as a violation of Weinstein’s rights to medical privacy. 

Weinstein, who turned 68 on March 19, is being isolated at maximum security Wende Correctional Facility, in a town near Buffalo in upstate New York.

The state prison system confirmed that two inmates at Wende have tested positive for COVID-19, but did not identify them because it said it can’t comment on individual inmate medical records.

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, said Weinstein was one of the prisoners with the virus. Five officers and two supervisors at Wende were also placed in isolation because of possible exposure to the virus, he told The Associated Press.

“Any statements that have been made were not made or authorized by the Department of Corrections and could be considered a violation of HIPAA regulations,” Engelmayer said. “We are going to continue protecting his privacy and maintain his privacy. As such, we will not discuss this matter any further.”

Earlier, Engelmayer told USA TODAY he had not been informed of any medical news regarding Weinstein. USA TODAY reached out to Weinstein’s lawyers for comment; Donna Rotunno responded Monday morning.

“We cannot confirm this information right now. We are trying to find out,” she said in an email to USA TODAY.

Since his conviction, Weinstein had been splitting time between New York City’s notorious Rikers Island jail complex and Manhattan’s Bellevue Hospital.

Following the guilty verdict, Weinstein complained of chest pains and high blood pressure. He later had a stent inserted to unblock an artery. After his sentencing, he returned to the hospital with more chest pains.

In addition to heart issues, Weinstein’s lawyers have said he is also dealing with the effects of unsuccessful back surgery stemming from a car crash last summer, and a condition that requires shots in his eyes so he does not go blind.

Weinstein was just transferred to Wende on Wednesday after he was sentenced to 23 years in prison following his Feb. 24 conviction of third-degree rape and forcible sexual assault of two women. He is supposed to be evaluated, medically and mentally, before being permanently assigned to the prison where he will serve his sentence.

He arrived at the facility in western New York the day before the state prison system stopped accepting inmates from local jails in an effort to stymie the spread of coronavirus.

The New York City jail system that includes Rikers Island has reported at least 19 inmates and 12 staff members being diagnosed with coronavirus as of Saturday night.

Juda Engelmayer, Weinstein’s spokesman, issued a statement Monday afternoon declining to confirm or deny Weinstein’s medical status or discuss it further, although he said his legal team is now “fully aware” of his medical condition.

He effusively praised prison officials and rejected any public statements about Weinstein as a violation of HIPPA, a federal law protecting patient privacy, including those in prison.

“They have been extremely responsive and caring about the situation, and we want to point out that at no time did the (New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision) make any statement or issue a comment regarding Mr. Weinstein’s current health condition, for which we are incredibly grateful. 

Weinstein is also charged with sex crimes in Los Angeles County, where prosecutors have said they have begun the process of extraditing him. But both New York and California have been shut down due to coronavirus.

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s office did not immediately respond to a message from USA TODAY about the status of plans to try Weinstein on four sex crimes there.

The movie producer was set to remain at Wende for up to eight weeks as officials determined his long-term prison facility.

Actress Rose McGowan, of Weinstein’s first accusers to come public, tweeted on Sunday: ”Dear Harvey, In your darkest hour, repent. And in your lightest moment set yourself free.”

Read more at usatoday.com

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