Harvey Weinstein and his former studio partners have reportedly reached a tentative settlement with women who filed civil suits against the disgraced film mogul for sexual harassment, but the multi-million-dollar deal will not forestall his criminal trial, set for September.
Under the proposed deal, millions of dollars would go to Weinstein’s accusers – the first compensation for the women who galvanized the #MeToo movement – and creditors of his former studio.
The agreement, reported by several US news outlets, is expected to go before a bankruptcy judge handling the Weinstein Company case on June 4 for final approval.
The details of the deal, which would put an end to a year of legal wrangling, have yet to be revealed.
Weinstein, 67, was once one of the most powerful men in Hollywood, producing Oscar-winning hits such as “Shakespeare In Love” and “The English Patient”.
But it all came crashing down in October 2017, when allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Weinstein has now been accused of harassment and assault by more than 80 women.
Hollywood magazine Variety and other organizations have cited sources close to the situation indicating that $30 million would go to Weinstein’s numerous women accusers as well as the studio’s creditors.
Another $14 million would pay for the legal fees of his studio partners, who have been named as co-defendants in several of the suits.
The funds are to be paid out by insurance agencies, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The hope is that the settlement will globally resolve the civil complaints targeting the studio, including one filed by New York state’s attorney general for failing to keep employees safe.
“It’s been a long, complex process, and we do feel this settlement provides a measure of justice though it’s not everything one might hope for,” said Aaron Filler, an attorney for one of the complainants, actress Paz De La Huerta.
For Bennett Gershman, a former prosecutor and professor of law at Pace University, the apparent deal is “a victory for the women who claimed abuse.”
But it’s likely also good news for Weinstein and especially his company, which no longer has any ties to him and can henceforth “put this major lawsuit behind them… they can move on.”
But actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of misconduct, stressed Friday she was not dropping her case against him.
A Los Angeles judge in January dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit but said she can move forward with allegations Weinstein defamed her and damaged her career.
“Ashley Judd’s case against Harvey Weinstein is ongoing and we intend to bring it to trial. She is not a party of any settlement,” a tweet on the actress’s Twitter account said.
As for the criminal trial, due to begin on September 9 in New York, Gershman said the civil settlement would have little effect.
Weinstein has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women. He faces life in prison if convicted.
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