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Harvey Weinstein tests positive for coronavirus at New York prison, put in isolation

Officials believe that Weinstein was positive for the virus when he entered the state prison system last Wednesday from Rikers Island, a New York City jail
UPDATED MAR 23, 2020
Harvey Weinstein (Getty Images)
Harvey Weinstein (Getty Images)

Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19 while in a New York prison for rape and assault. Weinstein was convicted earlier this year and was sentenced to 23 years in prison for sexually assaulting former 'Project Runway' production assistant Miriam Haleyi and raping former actress Jessica Mann. Weinstein has been put in isolation following the development.

Days before testing, on March 19, Weinstein, who turned 68 last Thursday, was taken to the maximum-security prison, Wende Correctional Facility, in the town of Alden in Erie County outside Buffalo. Before that, he was in Rikers Island jail in New York City. Rikers is facing one of the country's worst reported coronavirus outbreaks, with at least 38 people testing positive as of last week.

The news of Weinstein testing positive was first reported by the Niagara Gazette, which stated that Weinstein was one of two inmates at the Wende Correctional Facility who tested positive. 

According to the publication, officials familiar with Weinstein's situation said it is believed Weinstein was positive for the virus when he entered the state prison system last Wednesday from Rikers Island, a New York City jail. 

After Weinstein's conviction on February 24, he was taken into custody. Before he entered New York City's jail system, he was treated at Bellevue Hospital and later transferred to Rikers. When Weinstein was sentenced on March 11, he was taken to Bellevue Hospital again and later transferred back to Rikers before being moved to Wende.

A spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision told Buzzfeed News, "The Department cannot comment on an individual’s medical record. However, we can confirm that two of the Department’s approximately 43,000 incarcerated individuals, both at Wende Correctional Facility, have confirmed cases. With each confirmed case, DOCCS worked with the Department of Health to identify any potentially exposed individuals in order to provide notifications and to stop the spread of the virus."

Weinstein's conviction followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that's-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The case against the once-feared producer was essentially built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on another woman, production assistant Mimi Haleyi, at his apartment in 2006, and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on 'Sopranos' actress Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.

More than 90 women, including actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Uma Thurman, eventually came forward to accuse Weinstein of sexual assault and sexual harassment. The takedown energized the #MeToo campaign of speaking up about sexual assault and holding perpetrators accountable.

On Saturday, it was revealed that at least 38 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19, while at least 58 other people were currently being monitored in quarantine units.