Weinstein hired former Raniere Attorney and Bronfman’s PR crisis manager
Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence at the Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome, NY, for his 2020 conviction of rape and sexual assault of two women in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
He was also convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2022 for rape, forced oral copulation, and sexual misconduct. He was sentenced to 16 years but ordered to serve concurrently with his New York sentence.
Weinstein is appealing both convictions.
In Los Angeles, Weinstein retained Jennifer Bonjean, and Los Angeles attorney Michael Freedman, to handle his appeal on the West Coast.
Bonjean was one of Keith Raniere’s appellate attorneys,
Weinstein’s legal team has filed an appeal in New York, alleging Judge James Burke succumbed to the pressure of an influential social movement seeking to make an example out of Weinstein. The appeal contends that the judge’s decision was influenced by the mob and media’s desire to punish centuries of male misbehavior rather than rely on the evidence presented at trial.
Manhattan attorney Arthur Aidala represents Weinstein in his appeal in New York.
In California, the appeal for Weinstein will contend that he did not have a fair trial and that there were significant legal errors during the proceedings. The defense team plans to question the credibility of the witnesses and the evidence’s handling during the trial.
If successful in his appeals, Weinstein could have his convictions overturned or be granted a new trial in either or both jurisdictions.
Bonjean has represented high-profile men in #MeToo-driven prosecutions of sex crimes. She successfully freed Bill Cosby in 2021 after he was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to spend his remaining years in prison. She represented R. Kelly in his second federal trial.
Kelly was also convicted in 2021 in Brooklyn Federal Court for racketeering, forced labor, and Mann Act violations and is serving a 30-year federal prison sentence at FCI Butner in North Carolina.
Bonjean was R. Kelly’s lead attorney at his federal trial in Chicago in 2022, where he was convicted of child pornography and enticing a minor into criminal sexual activity. He was sentenced to 20 years, 19 of which will be concurrent with his 30-year sentence.
Bonjean, located in Brooklyn, joined Raniere’s legal team in January 2021, about two months after he was sentenced to 120 years in federal prison.
Bonjean’s first filing was a motion to keep Raniere at MDC Brooklyn pending his appeal. Within hours of her filing, he was transferred out of MDC and off on a two-week punishing bus and plane trip to USP Tucson.
Early on the trip, Raniere contracted COVID. According to Raniere, he told US Marhalls and prison officials at various stops along the way. He was not sequestered, and during his long transit, he said he likely transmitted the disease to dozens of inmates.
Bonjean appealed to the Second Circuit, arguing Raniere was unjustly prosecuted, which was denied in December 2022.
Bonjean’s successor, Joseph Tully, filed a supplemental appeal and appeared before the appellate judges for oral arguments.
Perhaps not by coincidence, Weinstein has another NXIVM connection. Manhattan publicist and crisis manager Juda Engelmayer represents him and Clare Bronfman, as well as some other high profile criminals.
Engelmayer on Weinstein
In a statement to Variety, Engelmayer said about Weinstein and Bonjean: “The Bonjean Law Group and Jennifer Bonjean herself understand the issues facing Harvey and knows what is needed; not simply the law, but the environment in which we exist now… With this team, Harvey’s appeal in L.A. will be made in a way that not only demonstrates errors in applications of law and possible bias in meting out so-called justice, but will also expose how the proverbial deck was stacked in advance against Weinstein. In addition to the criminal appeal, the firm will bring the facts together in answers to the civil suit filed by a witness whom Harvey insists was never with him in the hotel or anywhere.”
Unlike Bonjean who was recently hired, Engelmayer has been representing Weinstein since 2018. Clare Bronfman retained the services of the well-known crisis PR manager in 2020.
On Clare Bronfman
Engelmayer said about his client Clare Bronfman, “The treatment of Clare Bronfman by her judge in the NXIVM trial, in my opinion, was influenced by the public outcry over the alleged sex-cult rather than her actual involvement.
“In fact, those convicted of heinous crimes like sex-trafficking were given lighter sentence than Ms. Bronfman, who was convicted of racketeering charges and sentenced to seven years, two years longer than the prosecution recommended.
“In fact, to demonstrate the assertion that the media is somewhat complicit, even the once infallible New York Times used the term sex-trafficking in their title when Bronfman was sentenced, despite her conviction for identity theft and immigration offenses and the judge “agree[d] with Ms. Bronfman that the available evidence does not establish that she was aware of DOS… or that she directly or knowingly funded DOS or other sex trafficking activities.”
Anna Sorokin, Socialite Impersonator
Engelmayer, the president of HeraldPR and Emerald Digital, also represents Anna Sorokin, better known as Anna Delvey, convicted of grand larceny in New York State Supreme Court, who posed as a wealthy heiress with a $60 million trust fund in Manhattan from 2013 to 2017. She swindled banks and hotels out of more than $200,000. Sorokin is currently on house arrest, with an ankle monitor, and no access to social media.
Sororkin spent three years in prison. Upon her release on parole in 2021, she was taken into custody by immigration authorities with the intention of deporting her. However, a judge granted Sorokin home confinement on $10,000 bail in October of 2022, allowing her to remain in the country while fighting her deportation.
One of the conditions of Sorokin’s home confinement was that she must refrain from accessing her former social media accounts. During her time in detention at an Upstate New York facility, where prisoners were provided with “dull rubber objects,” Sorokin began creating drawings. Embracing her newfound identity as an artist, Sorokin’s artwork went on sale starting at $10,000 each, while prints were available for $250 to a wider audience.
Another Sorokin connection to Clare Bronfman is their attorney, Duncan Levin.
Attorney Duncan Levin speaks to a group of Sororkin supporters at her art show at the Public Hotel at New York City, waiting for her to appear by teleconference call while in ICE custody.
Another connection: Keith Raniere claims to have invented teleconferencing and unsuccessfully sued Microsoft and AT&T. Bronfman paid for the lawsuit.