Harvey Weinstein reaches $44M settlement with sexual assault accusers

by Kim Boateng Posted on May 24th, 2019

Harvey Weinstein, women who accused him of sexual misconduct, his former film studio’s board members and the New York attorney general’s office have reached a tentative $44 million deal to resolve lawsuits and compensate alleged victims of the Hollywood producer, according to people familiar with the matter.

Lawyers involved in the discussions told a bankruptcy-court judge Thursday that they had reached a deal but didn’t offer specific financial terms.

A tentative deal is close to settling lawsuits brought against the television and film company co-founded by Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by scores of women.

“We now have an economic agreement in principal that is supported by the plaintiffs, the AG’s office, the defendants and all of the insurers that, if approved, would provide significant compensation to victims, creditors and the estate, and allow the parties to avoid years of costly, time consuming and uncertain litigation on all sides,” Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, told a bankruptcy court judge in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday.

He cautioned that there was still “a lot of work here to do.”

“But,” he added, “I personally am very optimistic.”

The amount of the deal wasn’t revealed in court, but a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press it was worth $44 million. The person wasn’t authorized to reveal details of the discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The size of the settlement was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The New York attorney general’s office declined to comment on the amount of the settlement.

More than 15 lawsuits have been filed accusing Harvey Weinstein or the company of misconduct. The settlement would cover many of them, including a class action by alleged victims and a suit by the New York attorney general.

The class-action complaint accuses the company of operating like an organized crime group to conceal widespread sexual harassment and assaults.

The scandal forced the studio into bankruptcy.

Harvey Weinstein also faces criminal charges in New York of rape and performing a forcible sex act. His trial is scheduled to begin in September.

He denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Negotiations between Weinstein’s legal team and the lawyers representing the women accusers have reportedly been going on for over a year.

The settlement with the New York attorney general relates to that office’s February 2018 lawsuit against Weinstein and his brother and business partner Bob Weinstein for the violation of state and city laws on sexual harassment, sexual abuse and coercion as well as gender discrimination. With the settlement, Weinstein’s lawyers hope to cover all pending suits against the producer and his business associates relating to his now-bankrupt studio.

In October 2017, the Times reported that dozens of women had accused the Oscar-winning producer of sexual assault, which dated back decades. Those allegations led to a deluge of further claims of sexual assault against Weinstein in The New Yorker and other publications. The Weinstein allegations would go on to spur allegations against dozens of prominent men in Hollywood and around the world under the #MeToo hashtag on social media.

After the wave of allegations against Weinstein, TWC filed for bankruptcy in March 2018.

Despite reports of a proposed settlement deal with some of his accusers and creditors, Weinstein continues to have legal problems with dozens of lawsuits filed by other accusers and upcoming criminal trials. In September, Weinstein will go on trial in New York for charges of raping an unidentified female acquaintance in his Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006.

In a separate case, a U.S. District Judge allowed a sex trafficking case to go ahead against Weinstein relating to a 2017 suit.

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