Weinstein’s Bail Is Doubled Over Handling of Ankle Monitor - The New York Times

New York | Weinstein’s Bail Is Doubled Over Handling of Ankle Monitor

The bail was set at $2 million after concerns that he had been disabling the device. His lawyers blamed “technical glitches.”

Harvey Weinstein arrived at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Wednesday using a walker.  Credit... Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

A state judge on Wednesday increased bail for Harvey Weinstein after prosecutors said he had mishandled his electronic ankle monitor, causing it to stop transmitting dozens of times and leaving prosecutors with no idea of where he was.

Mr. Weinstein, 67, who arrived at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan using a walker, was ordered to post a $2 million insurance company bond, just weeks before his Jan. 6 trial. His previous bail had been $1 million cash.

“The sole concern of the court is the return of the defendant,” Justice James M. Burke said.

The judge ordered the hearing to reset Mr. Weinstein’s bail as required under a new state law, but prosecutors used it to raise questions about whether he had been disabling his electronic monitor, which tracks his position.

The bail hearing came as Mr. Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio reached a tentative $25 million settlement agreement with dozens of women who accused him of sexual misconduct.

The lead prosecutor, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, said that Mr. Weinstein’s ankle monitor had stopped transmitting at least 57 times in less than two months, and that he had not reported those breaches to the Manhattan district attorney’s office.

“These were not technical glitches in any shape or form,” Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon said. “Mr. Weinstein did not want people to know where he was.”

Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon also said that Mr. Weinstein had sold five properties in the last two years for $60 million, and suggested that he seemed to have “unlimited resources.”

“He has disconnected himself from any real property in New York, and he has no real incentive to stay in New York,” she said, suggesting he could easily flee and avoid prosecution.

Ms. Illuzzi-Orbon had also raised the matter at a hearing last week, saying, “The bottom line, judge, is this man could fly out on a private jet, which he does, and go to another country like that.”

But a lawyer for Mr. Weinstein told the judge that the problems with Mr. Weinstein’s ankle monitor stemmed from dead batteries and other technical problems, insisting the disgraced movie producer had complied with the terms of his bail.

“There are no allegations that he tried to flee,” the lawyer, Arthur Aidala, said, adding that there had been no problems with the ankle monitor since Oct. 7 when the batteries were replaced.

Prosecutors had previously said that the monitor could have stopped working because it was too far away from a cellphone tower. In some instances, the prosecutor said, the bracelet did not work correctly for several hours.

Mr. Weinstein’s lawyers said that in the New York City suburb of Bedford, where Mr. Weinstein lives, cell service is weak. They also said Mr. Weinstein had hired an employee to help him with the ankle monitor.

The judge issued a warning to Mr. Weinstein — who is scheduled to have surgery on his back on Thursday after a car accident in August — that the trial would go on with or without him.

“Should you fail to appear for any reason that is voluntary, this trial will continue in your absence,” Justice Burke said. “If you have further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding.”

Mr. Aidala said that Mr. Weinstein would need only a week to recover from surgery and that “he wants to have his name cleared.”

Mr. Weinstein put up $2 million in stocks and bonds to secure the bail bond, according to his bondsman, Ira Judelson, who has handled numerous high-profile cases in New York City. Mr. Judelson said he would also be responsible for monitoring Mr. Weinstein’s ankle monitor, adding that he expects the producer to comply with the court’s requirements.

“I think we will be on the same page moving forward now that I’m involved,” he said.

Mr. Weinstein faces charges that he raped one woman, who has not been identified, at a Midtown hotel in March 2013 and forced a second woman, Mimi Haleyi, a production assistant, to allow him to perform oral sex on her at his apartment in Manhattan in 2006.

The actress Annabella Sciorra will also testify against him about her allegation that Mr. Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 1993, under the legal theory that her testimony will support charges of predatory sexual assault, even though her encounter with the producer happened too long ago to be the basis of a rape charge under New York law.

Ms. Sciorra, who is known for her work in “The Sopranos,” has publicly said that Mr. Weinstein assaulted her in her Gramercy Park apartment.

The predatory sexual assault charges require prosecutors to prove that Mr. Weinstein committed a serious sexual assault against at least two women. The charge carries a life sentence.

Mr. Weinstein maintains that his sexual encounters with the women were consensual.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office is also expected to call on three other women to testify about their experiences with Mr. Weinstein.

Prosecutors hope those witnesses will convince a jury that Mr. Weinstein has long been a sexual predator, even if the events they describe happened too long ago to be prosecuted as sex crimes. Prosecutors in Pennsylvania used a similar strategy in the sexual assault trial of the comedian Bill Cosby, who was convicted and sentenced to prison.

Alan Feuer contributed reporting.