This is a curious and disturbing custody and divorce case. Very disturbing.
Elizabeth Harding Weinstein, 49, is a Columbia University graduate, and was a stay-at-home mother of three children for 17.5 years. Her husband, Brian Stryker Weinstein, Esq., 49, is a senior litigation partner at Davis Polk, and a Board Member of Duke University Keenan Institute for Ethics.
They lived in the village of Briarcliff Manor.
May 20, 2020
Harding said she confronted her husband because he admitted he had a “lifelong history of pedophilia.”
In texts purportedly sent by Weinstein to her, he wrote, “I was indoctrinated into pedophilia.”
Harding later claimed that Weinstein was undergoing a “pedophilia investigation.”
June 1, 2020
Weinstein went to an out of district judge, Arlene Katz, with a 150 page “emergency” custody petition. Weinstein then filed a Family Offense Petition (FOP), with a different home address, possibly his new address after he was asked to leave his former home.
His petitions were filed and heard ex parte by Katz.
Katz granted Weinstein’s request, and gave temporary custody to the children (17, almost 16, and 13) to Weinstein and appointed an attorney for the children, Gloria Marchetti-Bruck.
June 5, 2020
Judge Arlene Katz of the Family Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Harding requiring her to stay away from her husband, her three children, and their home.
Weinstein got full custody of the children.
Immediately after the order was issued, police officers from the Briarcliff Manor Police Department removed Harding from the house she had shared with her husband and children.
Harding filed divorce proceedings on June 6th, and a state-court petition for a writ of mandamus in the Westchester County Supreme Court.
“I was rendered homeless and stripped from their lives,” Harding said.
After a year of being with their father, the children apparently are not unhappy about the current custody arrangements – which Harding ascribes to Stockholm Syndrome, an emotional response where some abuse and hostage victims have positive feelings toward an abuser or captor.
Harding said, “My children, who love and adore me… are brainwashed from the trauma and abuse, and have Stockholm Syndrome.”
Months passed and Harding was forbidden to see her children.
December 4, 2020
Judge Nancy Quinn-Koba issued a new TRO ex parte – which, once again, directed Harding to stay away from her husband, her three children, and their home.
Harding filed an emergency request for an order to show cause relating to the December 4, 2020 TRO. Judge Quinn-Koba denied the request.
December 30, 2020
Harding filed an appeal to the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, seeking review of the ex parte TRO.
January 4, 2021
Harding went to the Clerk’s Office in the Briarcliff Manor Municipal Building to file a FOIA request and a letter in her case regarding Village Judge Howard T. Code’s denial of due process.
Village officials refused to accept her documents because they said she was not wearing a mask.
Harding claims she cannot medically tolerate a mask (On social media, she is an anti-mask advocate).
She refused to put on a mask in the Clerk’s Office.
Court Clerk Zirman and Village Manager Philip Zegarelli contacted Village Police, who are located in the same building, to have Harding removed.
When Officers Wilkinson and Chief Bueti arrived, Zegarelli asked that they escort Harding out of the building for not wearing a mask.
Officer Wilkinson ordered Harding to leave the building or be arrested. Harding, who had been recording the incident on her phone, complied, informing officers she would be posting the video online.
Chief Bueti granted permission to Harding to hand in her forms prior to leaving. When she did, he closed the door behind her, knocked the phone and papers from her hands, pinned her against the wall, and arrested her.
Officers charged Plaintiff with “disorderly conduct”. They later changed that to “obstruction of government administration” and added “resisting arrest”.
Harding was brought to the police station and chained to the wall for four hours. Harding was then strip-searched, denied access to a lawyer, denied dietary accommodations, and placed in solitary confinement and on “suicide watch”.
She was arraigned by video on January 5th.
Briarcliff Manor Village Court Justice Howard T. Code ordered that Harding undergo a psychiatric examination, remanded her to prison, and placed her under suicide watch.
January 8, 2021
At a hearing, Harding was released, but when she refused to “comply with competency exams,” she was sent back to her cell and held for six hours. During that time, she was visited by a psychologist, Jerome Norton, who requested to do an exam to determine if she was ‘competent'”.
Harding did not consent to the exam.
February 1, 2021
Harding got a letter that she submitted to the court from Elizabeth Bussian, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who has been working with Harding since 2013. Bussian wrote that she has “no psychiatric concerns” about Harding and that she “do[es] not require a psychiatric evaluation.”
February 17, 2021
Harding sued in State Court for claims arising out of her January 4th arrest. She named as defendants: her husband, the Village of Briarcliff Manor, judges, judicial officials, prosecutors, police officials, town officials, and others
Harding asserted her husband “has been using his inner workings of the Westchester Judiciary” to have the judges, police officers, and district attorneys “discredit” her in order to “provide a cover for [her husband’s] nefarious actions, abuse of process, and domestic violence thus far.”
March 9, 2021
Harding was involuntarily committed at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Westchester. A former ER/ICU nurse, Harding refused treatment and demanded a hearing to be released within five days.
The courts postponed the hearing for two weeks – after which Judge Anne E. Minihan ordered her to take the medication prescribed by the psychiatrist before she could be released.
March 17, 2021
While at St. Vincent’s, the State Court dismissed her lawsuit as frivolous and later issued orders that it would be conducting an inquiry as to Harding’s mental health to determine if it would be appropriate to appoint a guardian ad litem for her.
April 2, 2021
Harding was released from St. Vincent’s.
April 16, 2021
Judge Nancy Quinn-Koba issued a new ex parte TRO. Harding claims it was backdated to December 4, 2020 “although no TRO was in effect from March 5, 2021, to April 16, 2021.”
Within minutes after the new TRO was issued, Harding was pulled over while driving by officers from the Briarcliff Manor Police. The officers arrested her for alleged violations of the April 16, 2021 TRO.
After she was handcuffed, officers informed her she had violated the TRO on April 5-7, 2021. Harding claims there was no TRO in effect then. Harding said she was arrested for posting a picture of her children on social media – which she claims occurred prior to the TRO being in place.
She was charged with misdemeanor offenses.
That same day, in new proceedings in the Briarcliff Manor Village Court, Village Justice Halper issued a new ex parte TRO, directing that Harding stay at least 1,500 feet away from her home and children.
Harding was telling everyone who would listen that her husband was a pedophile – and also posting those same claims online. There are now dozens of posts with her accusations. For example, she posted to Facebook
“Do you think that being trauma-bonded to an abuser is sufficient proof to accuse someone of sexual abuse themselves? I’ve never seen her share any evidence that he’s actually committed acts of pedophilia, or even claim that she has such evidence. Maybe she’s provided you with evidence of actual sexual abuse, but she hasn’t shared that publicly. If I saw compelling evidence I’d be right there supporting her with you.”
June 11. 2021
June 12, 2021
Around this time, Weinstein had enough. He petitioned the court to have a guardian appointed for Harding based on his claims of her mental incompetency. On June 24 and June 30, Judge Janet Malone held ex-parte hearings to determine whether to place Harding into guardianship.
August 2, 2021
Harding was adjudicated incapacitated in a guardianship proceeding, pursuant to Article 81 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law in New York State Supreme Court, Westchester County, before Justice Janet C. Malone.
A Guardian of the Property, Kenneth L. Bunting, Esq., was appointed in the proceeding. Bunting was given the authority to, among other things, prosecute, discontinue, defend, settle, and compromise civil actions on behalf of Harding.
Bunting canceled her lawsuits. He told the court, “I specifically request that any future claims offered for filing by, or on behalf of, Ms. Weinstein, not originating from my office, or from an attorney who has filed a notice of appearance, be declined.”
Harding claims that Bunting “seized all my assets, withdrew my cases against my husband and his agents in federal court and requested one be amended to be ‘dismissed with prejudice.’… Bunting found one private account with money used to feed myself seized and closed it without notice. I am forced to depend on the kindness of others for food and housing.
Harding also claims that Bunting keeps her monthly support payments, found her private bank account, confiscated the money and closed the account, canceled her car insurance, declined to provide money for transportation, and denied her virtual access to the Court during COVID, and then sought to dismiss her divorce case for “failure to participate.”
August 11, 2021
Weinstein told an interviewer, “My wife has a severe mental illness. She’s been involuntarily committed to treatment; I’ve been given custody of my children. I have temporary orders of protection against her. I have a guardian appointed.”
Harding, on the other hand, asserted, as she sought to vacate the April 16, 2021 TRO, that her husband is a pedophile, her children have been kidnapped, she has been a victim of human trafficking, and has been denied due process and access to the courts in the state-court matters.
The battle is not over, or maybe it is.
Harding continues to take to social media, go on any and all podcasts and on YouTube to tell her story.
She wrote on Twitter, “I will never stop fighting for my children. They can abuse me all they want, I will never quit and they can not change my soul, make me give up hope, or isolate me from the good. These pedophiles desecrate our societies- NOT ON MY WATCH.”