Harvey Weinstein seen without zimmer frame amid accusations of 'playing for sympathy'

Harriet Alexander
Harvey Weinstein arriving in court on Wednesday - Getty Images North America

Harvey Weinstein has been photographed walking unassisted around a supermarket near his New York home, days after arriving at a court hearing dishevelled and using a zimmer frame.

Weinstein, 67, shocked onlookers on Wednesday as he arrived for a bail hearing looking a shadow of his former self. Hunched over, scruffy and shuffling along with a zimmer frame, he was almost unrecognisable.

Donna Rotunno, his lawyer, said Weinstein was using the medical equipment at the insistence of his legal team.

“We wanted him to use a walker last week, and Mr Weinstein didn’t want the press to think he was seeking sympathy,” she said.

She said that, on Thursday, he would undergo a three-hour operation on for a back injury sustained during a car crash in August.

Harvey Weinstein inside the Manhattan court on Wednesday

“He had a bilateral laminectomy and is now recovering, and will be remaining one night in the hospital,” a representative said.

On Thursday night The New York Post  published an undated photograph of Weinstein, which the paper claimed was taken recently, standing tall inside a Target store near Mount Kisco, in upstate New York. 

 Weinstein’s adversaries suggested that the disgraced film producer was using the zimmer frame to curry sympathy, a suggestion refuted by his lawyers.  

It has been widely reported that Weinstein has been intent on “producing” his legal fight to specifically win over the court of public opinion.

Weinstein has seen a swift turnover of lawyers as it is rumoured that his legal team have repeatedly disagreed with his “stage managing” tactics.

The New York-born producer, who is due to go on trial for rape and sexual assault on January 6, is currently on his third set of lawyers.  

Benjamin Brafman, who headed up Weinstein’s first legal team until he was dismissed in January, has said that Weinstein sends his lawyer dozens of emails a day, and he leaves voice mails if he doesn’t hear back.

“He’s a hands-on client,” he said. “He’s relentless.”

At Wednesday’s hearing his bail was increased from $1 million in cash to a $2 million bond, after Weinstein was accused by prosecutors of having 57 violations involving his ankle monitor.

His lawyers told the judge that any issues with the ankle monitor were due to technical glitches.

Later that evening it was reported that a $25 million settlement had been reached between Weinstein and more than 30 women who accused him of sexual assault in a civil case.

Under the terms of the deal Weinstein does not admit any wrongdoing, and will not personally pay for the damages, as the finance comes from insurance firms.

Weinstein’s accusers reacted with dismay to the settlement, but many said they had been advised it was the best they could hope for.