A New York judge has rejected Harvey Weinstein’s request to travel to Italy in August to consult on a stage adaptation of Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 film Cinema Paradiso. The producer, who is currently awaiting trial on rape charges in September, has been barred from traveling outside of New York or Connecticut but nevertheless requested permission for a ten-day trip to Rome to meet with the film’s director and its 90-year-old composer, Ennio Morricone. (Morricone, according to Weinstein’s American legal team, cannot travel.) Variety reports that Weinstein attempted to appease the court by waiving extradition—basically, agreeing not to fight extradiction if it came to that—and to “a two-man security detail to monitor him throughout the trip.” He had also requested a visit to Spain to meet with others involved in the project.
Weinstein’s team also offered Justice James Burke a letter from two Italian attorneys, Bruno della Ragione and Filomena Cusano, arguing that his presence in the country is important. “We understand that he will be facing a potentially lengthy trial in the U.S. and that he is confident he will redeem himself during the trial,” it stated. “In the meantime, we would hope that he be given the opportunity to continue the important work that he has commenced.” Perhaps the judge would have found this letter a little more convincing if one of the lawyers who wrote it, Della Ragione, didn’t also represent Fabrizio Lombardo, the former head of Miramax Italy who has been accused of procuring women for Weinstein.
Ultimately, Burke and the Manhattan D.A.’s office put the kibosh on Weinstein’s working vacation, leading his lawyer to complain that the court and the industry were subjecting her client to “conviction and punishment before trial, yielding to mob justice.” In addition to the upcoming rape trial, Weinstein is currently the subject of several other investigations and pending lawsuits, including a class action lawsuit for sex trafficking, a temporarily halted defamation lawsuit from Ashely Judd, and investigations by both federal government and the NYPD.