Federal Judge Rejects Harvey Weinstein’s $19 Million Settlement With Alleged Victims
July 14, 202010:57 PM ET
Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan court on Feb. 21, 2020, during jury deliberations in his rape trial in New York. Weinstein was found guilty and is serving a 23-year sentence for sexually assaulting one woman and raping another. He is appealing the verdict while also facing rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles.Mark Lennihan/AP
A federal New York judge has thrown out a proposed $18.9 million settlement between convicted rapist and former movie producer Harvey Weinstein, and several women.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein said the offer failed to adequately compensate many of the victims who allege they were sexually assaulted or raped by Weinstein.
He also faulted the money included in the settlement that would help pay Weinstein’s legal bills.
In a telephone hearing, Hellerstein said it was unfair to include women who’d merely met Weinstein with those making more grievous charges, Reuters reported.
“Not every woman was captured in the same way,” Hellerstein said. “Your settlement would create inequality among all of those people.”
Under the proposal, which was drafted after years of negotiation, each woman would have been entitled to file a claim for up to $750,000. A sum attorneys representing alleged victims say doesn’t come close to covering the pain, suffering and legal costs many of the women have faced.
Weinstein would not have admitted any wrongdoing under the settlement.
“We have been saying for over a year and a half that the settlement terms and conditions were unfair and should never be imposed on sexual assault survivors,” attorneys Douglas Wigdor, Bryan Arbeit and Kevin Mintzer said in a joint statement. They represent six accusers who objected to the settlement.
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“We were surprised that class counsel and the New York Attorney General did not recognize this fact but are pleased that Judge Hellerstein swiftly rejected the one-sided proposal. On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers.”
A 36-page brief by those opposed to the settlement filed to the court on Monday claimed the proposed settlement “diverted approximately $7.3 million to The Weinstein Company estate to cover administrative and general unsecured claims in the company’s bankruptcy proceeding. … According to public records, among those unsecured creditors included Harvey and Robert Weinstein, other former Weinstein Company directors, lawyers, major corporations and famous actors.”
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Fegan, an attorney representing the class action plaintiffs, said she was disappointed by Hellerstein’s ruling.