NEW YORK >> A hospitalized Harvey Weinstein was “upbeat” and “energized” about appealing his sexual assault and rape conviction, one of his lawyers said today as one of Weinstein’s accusers said the verdict made her feel grateful to be “heard and believed.”
Weinstein remained in a jail unit at Bellevue Hospital, where he was taken after the verdict Monday to be checked out for heart palpitations and high blood pressure.
Attorney Arthur Aidala today called the hospitalization “a precautionary measure to take him here and make sure his vitals and everything were OK” and said it wasn’t clear how long Weinstein would be at Bellevue.
After Monday’s verdict, he had been destined for jail to await sentencing, set for March 11.
In the meantime, Weinstein greeted his lawyer, unhandcuffed, in a large hospital room with jail officers outside and was looking forward to visitors, Aidala said.
“He’s in pretty good spirits. He’s energized,” the attorney told reporters.
He said the 67-year-old former Hollywood studio boss was insisting on his innocence and “somewhat flabbergasted by the verdict,” but determined to fight on.
“There is a portion of him where he’s just scratching his head and he doesn’t know how this happened, but he’s cautiously optimistic” about prevailing on appeal, Aidala said.
His remarks came after Mimi Haleyi, a former production assistant who accused Weinstein of forcing oral sex on her in 2006, called the verdict “a huge relief.”
“I just think that we’re being educated about the reality of sexual assault and sexual assault victims,” Haleyi said on “CBS This Morning.”
“It’s not always just a stranger. It’s very often somebody that the person knows, and with that comes an entire other layer of processing,” she said.
“Whatever the verdict had been, it wouldn’t have changed what happened to me, but obviously it was terrifying to think that I wouldn’t be believed,” she added later on MSNBC.
Weinstein faces a possible sentence of five to 29 years after a Manhattan jury convicted him of sexually assaulting Haleyi and raping an aspiring actress in 2013. He was acquitted of first-degree rape and two counts of predatory sexual assault.
Weinstein has maintained that any sex between him and his accusers was consensual.
Asked about Weinstein today, President Donald Trump called the disgraced producer’s conviction a “great victory” for women that “sends a very strong message.”
“He was a person I didn’t like,” Trump told reporters during a news conference in India. “The people that liked him were the Democrats. Michelle Obama loved him. Loved him. Hillary Clinton loved him.”
Trump himself stands accused of sexual misconduct, including a rape allegation, by more than a dozen women when he was a private citizen. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged in any of the alleged sexual assaults.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sex crimes unless they grant permission, as Haleyi did.