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Convicted Rapist Harvey Weinstein May Avoid Time on Rikers Island

Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Supreme Court for the first day of his trial.
Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan for the first day of his trial, Jan. 6, 2020
Photo: Lev Radin/Shutterstock

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City jail officials are considering keeping convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein off Rikers Island and sending him to another facility away from the city, ostensibly for his own safety, THE CITY has learned.

The disgraced movie producer could be transferred to a jail in Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester or as far away as Albany, according to Joe Russo, president of the Assistant Deputy Wardens / Deputy Wardens Association.

“He’s very high-profile and you can’t put him with somebody else,” said Russo.

On Monday, Weinstein, 67, was taken to Bellevue Hospital after he complained of chest pains following his conviction in Manhattan Supreme Court of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in 2006 and of third-degree rape in 2013.

He’s being watched in the hospital’s jail ward, by a team of officers — including several members of the department’s elite emergency response unit — to make sure he doesn’t try to harm himself.

Weinstein must be escorted by a jail captain anytime he moves, and the entire jail hospital unit is shut down to eliminate any chance he’ll bump into other inmates, Russo said.

“There seems to be a Jeffrey Epstein influence here,” Russo said.

Epstein, who was awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, hanged himself with a strip of bedsheet inside the federal Metropolitical Correctional Center in lower Manhattan on Aug. 10. Two prison officers have been criminally charged with falsifying records.

Notorious Inmates Isolated

Normally, high-profile state court detainees are housed in the North Infirmary Command on Rikers Island. They are isolated from other inmates who might try to hurt them.

The department has space in the facility and could even give Weinstein his own entire housing unit, Russo said.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge James Burke remanded Weinstein to jail as he awaits sentencing scheduled for March 11. He’s facing up to 25 years behind bars.

Any transfer from the city Correction Department to another area must be approved by the state’s commission of correction.

Detainees Often Moved

The number of inmates in city jails has dropped from approximately 8,000 last year to 5,396 as of last Wednesday, according to the Department of Correction.

City jail officials sometimes ask neighboring municipalities or the state to watch high-profile inmates or detainees. The practice has become more common during the de Blasio administration, records show.

In one case, a group of four teen inmates sued, arguing they were brutally beaten and put in solitary for months after they were sent to Albany County Correctional Facility. The case was settled a year later for close to $1 million.

The city prohibits punitive segregation for those under 22 and for people with serious mental illness. Other jail systems throughout the state are more lax.

Sometimes the city Department of Correction pays other places to cover the costs of the inmate transfer. All told, it spent more than $560,000 between July 2013 and June 2017, according to a New York Times report.

Most recently, a 24-year-old Staten Island man charged with killing the reputed boss of the Gambino crime family was moved away from Rikers Island, records show.

Anthony Comello, who is accused of killing Francesco Cali, has been “released to another jurisdiction,” according to the city Correction Department’s inmate lookup system.

A representative for the city Correction Department declined to comment on Weinstein.

“He’s in our custody right now,” said Avery Cohen, a City Hall spokesperson.

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