Politics

Convicted rapist, movie mogul Harvey Weinstein tests positive for coronavirus, official says

Key Points
  • Disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a New York state corrections union official said.
  • Weinstein is in isolation after he was transferred to a maximum security prison in upstate New York.
  • Seven staff members at the prison where Weinstein is being held are in quarantine after coming into contact with him.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at Manhattan Criminal Court with his attorneys on Feb. 24, 2020.
Alec Tabak | New York Daily News }| Getty Images

Disgraced film producer and convicted sex criminal Harvey Weinstein tested positive for the coronavirus while in prison, a New York state corrections union official told NBC News on Monday.

Weinstein, 68, was put in isolation less than a week after he was transferred to a maximum security prison in upstate New York, according to Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, who spoke with NBC.

Powers also said that seven staff members at that facility who came into contact with Weinstein have been quarantined.

New York Department of Corrections spokesman Thomas Mailey declined to comment when CNBC asked about Weinstein's health.

Weinstein's lawyer Arthur Aidala and spokesman Juda Engelmayer said they would "neither confirm nor deny whether Mr. Weinstein has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus."

"While his team is now fully aware of his current medical condition ... we are going to continue protecting his privacy and maintain his privacy," they said in a statement, which also was signed by Weinstein's prison consultant, Craig Rothfeld.

Weinstein's team said that any statements about his health were not made or authorized by the state Corrections Department "and could be considered a violation of" federal medical health information privacy law, known as HIPAA.

Earlier this month, Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison after being convicted of rape and sexual assault.

Last week, he was transferred to Wende Correctional Facility in Alden, a small town in Erie County located east of Buffalo and about a 45-minute drive from Niagara Falls.

There are two confirmed cases of coronavirus at Wende, where Weinstein is being held, according to a person familiar with the matter who declined to be named.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by  Weinstein, who along with his brother Bob founded the influential indie studio Miramax, prompted the #MeToo movement.

That movement has prompted many women to come forward with stories of alleged abuse and assault by powerful men.

Weinstein was a larger-than-life figure in Hollywood, revered and feared throughout show business from the 1990s until recently.

He produced Oscar-winning films such as "Pulp Fiction," "Shakespeare in Love" and "The King's Speech," and was a prominent donor to Democratic politicians and causes.

Weinstein, who had appeared to be in poor health during his trial, was rushed to Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital to be treated for a heart procedure after his conviction in February.

After undergoing a procedure to clear a heart blockage, Weinstein, who turned 68 this month, spent time at the Rikers Island jail complex before he was moved upstate.

Weinstein was convicted at trial of third-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree, more than two years after articles detailing his alleged serial abuse of women were first published.

He was found not guilty of the most serious charges, which were two counts of predatory sexual assault and one count of first-degree rape.

Weinstein's sentence fell below the maximum possible length of 29 years behind bars. But his sentence far exceeded the five years' imprisonment that his defense attorneys had requested. 

Weinstein faces more charges in California, including an allegation of raping one woman and sexually assaulting a second woman over a two-day period in 2013.

Hours after his sentence was imposed, the Los Angeles district attorney's office said it had begun the process of having Weinstein extradited to California to face those charges.

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-- CNBC's Dan Mangan contributed to this article.