Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers have insisted he is not using a Zimmer frame to win public sympathy, after he was photographed walking without one.
The disgraced film producer was filmed hunched over a four-legged walking frame as he slowly pushed himself into a courthouse in New York for a bail hearing on Wednesday.
The 67-year-old’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, told CNN at the time that his legal team had encouraged him to use a walker ahead of a scheduled back surgery on Thursday.
She added: “Mr Weinstein didn’t want the press to think he was seeking sympathy.”
However on Thursday, pictures emerged of him walking unaided around a supermarket near his New York home.
According to the New York Post’s Page Six website, an undercover reporter spotted the former producer in the Target store in Mount Kisco with his family.
In response, a representative for Mr Weinstein told the site that he underwent a three-hour operation on Thursday for an injury he sustained during a car crash in August – however they reportedly did not offer an explanation for his sporadic use of a walking frame.
They said: “He had a bilateral laminectomy and is now recovering, and will be remaining one night in the hospital.”
Mr Weinstein is due to go on trial on 6 January on rape and sexual assault charges.
He has pleaded not guilty to charges he raped a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performed a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.
A judge increased his bail from $1m (£750,000) to $5m (£3.7m) on Wednesday over allegations he mishandled or disabled his electronic ankle monitor on 57 occasions in less than two months.
Later that day, a lawyer revealed that a $25m (£19m) settlement had been reached for more than two dozen actresses and former employees who claim Mr Weinstein sexually harassed them.
Mr Weinstein is already on his third set of defence lawyers, after parting ways with more than half a dozen.
In an interview with The Guardian on Saturday, one of those lawyers, Lisa Bloom, said she deeply regretted working for him.
Actress Rose McGowan is suing Ms Bloom, along with Mr Weinstein, lawyer David Boies and private intelligence agency Black Cube, after alleging the group coordinated to shut down her claims that Mr Weinstein raped her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival.
A book published by the New York Times reporters who broke the story about Mr Weinstein includes a memo written by Ms Bloom to Mr Weinstein in 2016 which details a six-point plan to damage Ms McGowan’s reputation.
Ms Bloom told The Guardian: “All I can tell you, in regards to that memo, is virtually none of those things happened.
“Everything in that memo, if I did say it, I certainly don’t believe now.”
The lawyer, who has previously referred to working for Mr Weinstein as a “colossal mistake”, added: “Attorneys represent a lot of distasteful people.”