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Harvey Weinstein has been placed in isolation at New York’s Wende Correctional Facility after testing positive for COVID-19, according to a report from CNHI newspapers, published in the Niagara Gazette. “Officials connected to the state prison system” told the outlet that Weinstein, currently serving a 23-year prison sentence for rape and sexual assault, may have been infected when he was transferred from New York City’s Rikers Island jail on Wednesday.
Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, declined CNHI’s request for comment, citing privacy rules. Still, he did acknowledge that “there is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility.” And indeed, as of Wednesday, Rikers had confirmed a total of 38 COVID-19 diagnoses among inmates and corrections officers. According to the CNHI report, the disgraced movie mogul, 68, is one of two Wende inmates to test positive for the virus.
In late February, after deliberating for almost 30 hours, a Manhattan jury found Weinstein guilty of committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree. Although at least 100 women have publicly accused the film producer of sexual misconduct, only six of his accusers testified at trial. Shortly after it ended, he underwent heart surgery at Bellevue Hospital.
Weinstein was sentenced two weeks after the jury delivered its verdict, and quickly returned to Bellevue over “ongoing heart problems and chest pains,” his camp told Deadline in mid-March. Asked on Sunday about Weinstein’s alleged coronavirus diagnosis, his spokesperson, Juda Engelmayer, told the Daily Beast that “our team … has not heard anything like that yet.”