Judge rejects tentative $19M Harvey Weinstein deal with accusers


A Manhattan judge has rejected a $19 million US settlement between Harvey Weinstein and some of his accusers.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Heellerstein said Weinstein’s accusers in the proposed class-action settlement were too varied to be grouped together.

Lawyers for several women who had opposed the deal praised what they described as Hellerstein’s swift rejection of a one-sided proposal. Critics had called the proposed deal a “complete sellout” that did not require the former film producer to accept responsibility nor pay out of his own pocket.

A spokesman for Weinstein did not immediately comment. A lawyer for his companies declined comment.

A spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who announced the tentative agreement on June 30, said her office is reviewing the decision and determining its 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,” said a written statement from the office.

The deal to settle lawsuits brought by James and a Chicago lawyer on behalf of multiple women would have provided between $7,500 and $750,000 (all figures US) to some women who accused Weinstein of sexually abusing them.

The 68-year-old former Hollywood producer was convicted earlier this year of rape and sexual assault against two women.

Accusations by dozens of women in 2017 led to the downfall of his career and gave rise to #MeToo, a global movement to hold powerful men accountable for sexual misconduct.

Weinstein was diagnosed in March with the coronavirus just days after he was moved to the state’s maximum security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo to begin serving his 23-year prison sentence.

Read more at CBC.ca