Weinstein to move from hospital to Rikers Island jail

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who was convicted of rape and sexual assault last week, was being transferred to New York's Rikers Island jail complex from Bellevue Hospital on Thursday after undergoing heart surgery, according to his spokesman.

Weinstein was in the process of being moved shortly after 1 p.m. (1800 GMT), said his spokesman, Juda Engelmayer. He was taken to Bellevue following his conviction on Feb. 24.

On Wednesday, he underwent a procedure to remove a heart blockage, Engelmayer said.

Weinstein is expected to go to Rikers' North Infirmary Command section, which houses inmates requiring medical care.

The Rikers Island jail complex, whose main building went up in 1932, has long been plagued by violence and neglect. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed in 2017 to close it within a decade.

A Bellevue spokeswoman declined to comment on Weinstein. The New York City Department of Correction, which runs the jail, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Weinstein, 67, was found guilty of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping former aspiring actress Jessica Mann in 2013. He faces up to 29 years in prison when he is sentenced on March 11.

Jurors acquitted Weinstein on the two most serious charges, predatory sexual assault, which carried a maximum life sentence.

The verdict was seen as a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which was fueled by his case starting in late 2017. The movement inspired women to accuse hundreds of powerful men - in entertainment, business, news media, politics and other fields - of sexual misconduct.

More than 80 women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct. He has denied the accusations, and said any sexual encounters were consensual.

The former producer was a key force behind acclaimed films such as "The English Patient" and "Shakespeare in Love," which both won Oscars for best picture. His former film studio, the Weinstein Co, filed for bankruptcy in March 2018 and is being liquidated.

In addition to his convictions in New York, Weinstein also faces several felony charges in Los Angeles in connection with alleged sexual assaults against two women in 2013.

(Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis, Noeleen Walder and Jonathan Oatis)