NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s bail was increased from $1 million to $5 million on Wednesday over allegations he violated bail conditions by mishandling his electronic ankle monitor.
But Judge James Burke rejected prosecution calls to put the disgraced movie mogul in jail over the alleged violation.
Weinstein, 67, arrived at court in the morning using a walker, and his lawyer said he will be undergoing back surgery on Thursday. Burke warned that he would revoke his bail and issue a warrant for his arrest if other issues crop up.
“If you have any further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding,” Burke says.
Weinstein responded, apparently talking about his surgery: “This is the only time I’ve asked for it. This ensures I am here January 6. This is a good thing for you.”
The disgraced movie mogul is scheduled to stand trial in New York City beginning Jan. 6 on rape and sexual assault charges.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said at a hearing Friday that Weinstein has repeatedly, purposely left at home a piece of the monitoring technology that keeps the ankle bracelet activated.
That has left his whereabouts unrecorded for hours at a time, she said.
Weinstein lawyer Donna Rotunno has denied it was anything deliberate, blaming “technical glitches” like dead batteries.
“It has nothing to do with any manipulation of the bracelet,” Rotunno told reporters after leaving court. She acknowledged that on at least one occasion, he’d forgotten part of the device when he left the house. “The minute he realized he forgot it, he made a phone call.”
But on Wednesday, Illuzzi told the court that the person monitoring Weinstein does not believe the problems due to were technical glitches. While the monitoring now appears to be working, Illuzzi said she thought that was because of the threat of new bail.
“I don’t think it was the adding of the extra batteries,” Illuzzi said. “It was Mr. Weinstein’s panic that the court might change the bail.”
Weinstein has pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
He has been free on the current $1 million bail and maintains that any sexual activity was consensual.
In recent months, Weinstein has been spotted hobnobbing at New York City nightclubs and getting jeered at a recent actors showcase.
lluzzi argued that it wouldn’t be unreasonable to put Weinstein in jail pending trial. If the judge doesn’t think jail is warranted, the prosecutor suggested Weinstein’s bail be raised from $1 million to $5 million.
Judge James Burke put off a decision until Wednesday’s hearing.
Weinstein hobbled into last week’s hearing and looked more pained than usual. His lawyer told reporters that he’s dealing with back issues.