TV producer Eric Weinberg has $5-million bail revoked after judge labels him danger to society, in jail or out.
In a landmark ruling, a judge said the man who directed “American Crime Story” has a “lifestyle choice, not a disability” to pay $5 million to the state of New York in punitive damages after he was sued for filming on government land.
The judge in the case, David G. Larimer, revoked the bail of Weinberg, a former New Jersey state trooper, on Wednesday.
The judge said Weinberg could flee to another state, and that he might be tempted to flee back to New Jersey as well.
“His lifestyle choice does not change or justify his flight from New York state,” the judge wrote in dismissing a lawsuit by the state’s attorney general. His ruling came while Weinberg was in jail awaiting trial on charges of reckless endangerment of a child.
Weinberg, whose work included directing the Emmy-winning Netflix documentary “13 Hours: The Inside Account of How the Guantanamo Bay Prison Came into Being,” was sued after he used a camera and sound recorder on private land for six days this past summer filming an episode of “American Crime Story,” which focuses on the story of a child sex abuse ring connected to the New York City Police Department.
The attorney general said Weinberg and his production company had illegally recorded more than 1,100 hours of footage in a four-month period using a portable sound and movie camera, tripod, battery pack, and video recorder.
Investigators also seized a video camera and equipment from Weinberg’s home, where he was living the last two years of his life, and a sound recorder and laptop from his car.
In his ruling on Wednesday, the judge said the video evidence suggests Weinberg has a “persistent, serious mental illness that does not impair his cognitive functioning.”
The judge said evidence suggests Weinberg has a “habitually dangerous” personality, and it would not be a surprise if he were to flee New York to avoid being held in prison, where he has faced a federal trial scheduled for next month.
New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is seeking to jail Weinberg, praised the ruling.
“This is one step closer to securing justice for our police