NEW YORK — Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s bail was doubled Wednesday from $1 million to $2 million amid allegations that the accused serial sex offender tampered with his electronic ankle monitor so he could disappear for hours at a time.
Weinstein, accused in more than 90 accounts of sexual misconduct, used a walker to shuffle into a Manhattan courtroom for a bail hearing where he was hoping to escape over the alleged violation.
A wobbly Weinstein appeared pained as he hobbled into Manhattan Supreme Court, but his lawyer, Donna Rotunno, insisted that the fallen film czar’s use of a walker was not a sympathy plea.
Days earlier, Weinstein had limped into the courthouse Rotunno said Weinstein is scheduled to have back surgery on Thursday.
“We insisted that he use a walker today,” Rotunno told reporters outside court. “Mr. Weinstein didn’t want the press to think he was seeking sympathy. He’s in pain. He’s having surgery.”
Weinstein’s legal team had blamed dead batteries in his ankle monitoring device for dropping the law enforcement radar for hours at a time.
But prosecutors said Weinstein had been disabling a piece of his tracking device, and told Judge James Burke that they feared the alleged sex offender might flee the country ahead of his trial, which is slated to begin Jan. 6.
“He certainly has means to fly private jets back and forth across the country,” Assistant District Attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said.
“These were not technical glitches in any way shape or form,” she added. “Mr. Weinstein didn’t want people to know where he was.”
Weinstein was found to have manipulated his ankle monitor 57 times in just two months and didn’t report malfunction difficulties with the device until he got caught, prosecutors said.
Weinstein assured the judge he had “every intention” of being at his trial.
“Mr. Weinstein wants everyone to know that there is nobody in this courtroom who wants January 6 to happen more than Mr. Weinstein,” his attorney Arthur Aidala said in court. “He wants to clear his name.”
Weinstein is not permitted to travel outside of New York or Connecticut without notifying prosecutors under the terms of his bail package. He cannot travel outside of the U.S. for any reason at all.
Under the new bail statutes, Judge Burke gave Weinstein the option to pay $5 million cash, $2 million insurance company bond or 10% of a $50 million partially secured bond.
Weinstein, 67, has been accused by more than 90 women around the world of sexual misconduct, though he has claimed all of the alleged encounters were consensual.
He faces a minimum of 10 years behind bars on predatory sex assault, the top count.