Judge to decide on moving Wiesel case to special court

The man accused of attacking author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel in a San Francisco hotel on Feb. 1 is due to appear in court in San Francisco today.  The afternoon hearing is to determine whether his case will be diverted from criminal court to a special court where mentally ill defendants receive alternatives to prison time.

Eric Hunt, 23, is severely bipolar, his attorney says. On August 21, Judge Harold Kahn recommended Hunt’s case be diverted to the Behavioral Health Court, which would order Hunt to treatment for his mental disorder.

Hunt allegedly grabbed Wiesel, 78, and tried to pull him from the elevator to his sixth-floor room where, he wrote in an Internet posting at the time, he wanted to make the Nobel Peace Prize winner retract his Holocaust memoir “Night.” Hunt's attorney, John Runfola, said Hunt was in the midst of a psychotic episode at the time.

“He is not morally ill, he is mentally ill,” Runfola has said of his client. Wiesel has previously characterized Holocaust deniers as “morally ill.”

Prosecutor Alan Kennedy has said he does not support the diversion program for Hunt because of the seriousness of the allegations. Kennedy said Hunt should be sentenced to prison for the six felony charges, which include kidnapping, attempted battery, elder abuse, false imprisonment, false imprisonment of an elder and stalking, with hate crime allegations.

Hunt is due in court today at 2 p.m., where a judge will hear from attorneys on both sides as to whether the case should be diverted.

amartin@examiner.com  

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes at SFPUC spark concern, hope

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, said he expected San Francisco to enter the purple tier within days.
Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner
SF still in the red but expects move into purple tier ‘some time soon’

Four more counties moved into highest COVID-19 risk category by state

Most Read