Dr. Yorai “Benny” Benzeevi, the former chief executive of Tulare Regional Medical Center facing felony charges for embezzlement is looking to bring on attorneys who have defended high-profile clients – including disgraced former film producer Harvey Weinstein.
Benzeevi is set to be arraigned in the Tulare County Superior Court on Feb. 17.
The court will also hold a hearing that day to decide if three out-of-state attorneys – Ronald Sullivan, Jose Baez and Gabrielle McCabe – will be permitted to join the defense.
The Valley Voice first reported the prospective hires.
Sullivan is a faculty director at Harvard Law School, where he also previously served as a faculty dean of an undergraduate house before being removed from the position in 2019 due to his affiliation with Weinstein.
Shortly after he was removed from his position as dean, Sullivan left Weinstein’s defense team before the trial started, citing scheduling conflicts. Weinstein was later sentenced to 23 years in prison, having been found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual assault act and third-degree rape.
Along with Sullivan, Baez was a part of Weinstein’s defense team early on, but he also left before the trial began.
Other high-profile clients that Baez has defended include former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and Casey Anthony, the Florida mother who was accused of killing her two-year-old daughter.
Baez won acquittals for both Hernandez and Anthony. McCabe is an attorney with Baez’s law firm in Miami.
The request for the high-profile attorneys comes after Benzeevi was arrested by Federal authorities early December at Los Angeles International Airport and turned over to the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office and later booked into the Tulare County Jail.
He was released from jail on a $4 million bail.
Initially, Benzeevi fled the United States on March 1, 2019, and prosecutes believed that he traveled to Israel, his home country, later arriving in the Philippines.
Benzeevi agreed to self-deportation from Manila in early December and surrendered his passport.
The trio of Benzeevi, former chief financial officer Alan Germany and chief counsel Bruce Greene are facing 40 felony charges for their time managing the hospital, dealing with allegations including embezzlement, conflicts of interest, money laundering and theft.
Outside of the dozens of charges, Benzeevi’s tenure running the hospital hit a low point when he contracted private ex-Mossad agents to conduct a shadow smear campaign against challengers seeking to recall members of the Tulare Local Healthcare District.
Following the Tulare County Grand Jury investigation into the “Tower of Shame” at Tulare Regional Medical Center, Tulare Local Healthcare District board member Parmod Kumar was voted out of the position after his ties to Benzeevi came to light.
A 2019 New Yorker story exposed Benzeevi’s contract with Israeli private intelligence contractor Psy-Group to conduct a shadow smear campaign against Kumar’s opponents.