Judge Rejects Harvey Weinstein's US$19 Mil Settlement With Accusers

The accusers' lawyers called Weinstein's settlement proposal "one-sided and unfair".

A judge has rejected a near-US$19 million (S$27 mil) settlement for Harvey Weinstein's accusers.

Earlier this month, it was revealed the New York's Attorney General's office made a deal with the Weinstein Company in relation to the class action lawsuit brought by former employees of the production company, which would see an US$18,875,000 victims compensation fund distributed to ex-staff members who "experienced a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination", as well as overriding any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements.

However, on Tuesday (July 14), District Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected the proposal.

A spokesperson for New York Attorney General Leticia James said in a statement: "We will review the decision and determine next steps.

"Our office has been fighting tirelessly to provide these brave women with the justice they are owed and will continue to do so."

The judge's ruling came a day after a 36-page document was filed by lawyers acting for several accusers, which asked for the court to reject the proposal.

Douglas H. Wigdor, a lawyer who represents multiple accusers, was "pleased" with the ruling.

He told CNN: "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.

"We were surprised that class counsel and the New York Attorney General did not recognise 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."

The lawyer and fellow attorneys Kevin Mintzer and Bryan Arbeit had previously branded the proposed settlement "one-sided and unfair".

They said in a statement: "Under no set of circumstances should the uber-wealthy former directors, including Harvey and Bob Weinstein, receive more money than a class of rape and sexual assault survivors.

"Equally reprehensible are the millions of dollars going to lawyers, corporations and famous actors at the expense of the survivors, while the insurance companies pay pennies on the dollar and Harvey Weinstein himself pays nothing.

"The efforts being made to prevent women from continuing with their litigation and holding those responsible for their trauma accountable are simply unprecedented. We are heartened by the growing opposition to this settlement and are hopeful that it will be rejected."

The suit against Weinstein, his brother Bob, and the production company was filed in February 2018 and accused them of violating numerous state codes against sexual harassment, intimidation and other workplace safety protections.

The AG's office had claimed assistants working for the disgraced producer - who was sentenced to 23 years in prison earlier this year — "were exposed to and required to facilitate" sexual encounters for him "as a condition of employment" and there was a clear paper trail of official complaints to the firm's human resources department which had been ignored.

More than 100 women have accused Weinstein of harassment and sexual misconduct. — BANG

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