Harvey Weinstein reaches tentative $44 million deal to settle sexual misconduct lawsuits
If the deal is approved $30 million would go to Weinstein’s victims and creditors that did business with his movie studio. The other $14 million would go towards paying the legal fees of former board members of the Weinstein Company that were named in the lawsuit.
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers will haul in $14 million as part of a proposed $44 million settlement with his sex assault accusers — while most of the alleged victims will get an average of $60,000, The Post has learned.
“Boardwalk Empire” actress Paz de La Huerta and Netflix producer Alexandra Canosa are among as many as 150 alleged victims who would be forced to split what is left of the settlement between them once the legal tabs for both sides are covered.
Some of Weinstein’s accusers would walk away with less than $60,000, sources familiar with the negotiations told The Post.
“It’s insulting,” one alleged victim said of the proposed settlement number. “It’s particularly insulting that he doesn’t even have to pay his own lawyer’s fees. He gets to walk away without any consequences.”
Not a single dime of the damages will come from Weinstein’s pocket, with insurance companies for the Weinstein Co. and his movie house Miramax footing the bill.
The proposed deal struck in a Delaware bankruptcy court on Thursday would see more than $14 million of the settlement allotted to defendants’ legal fees and almost $8 million to plaintiffs’ legal fees, plaintiffs’ lawyers speculated.
Sources familiar with the proposed settlement said that 18 women in the US, UK and Canada with individual lawsuits will be given $500,000 each, leaving $9 million to be divided among the remaining 150 women who are part of a class action lawsuit.
That money will not be divided evenly, meaning some accusers in the class action could walk away with a lot less than others, depending on factors such as their age or the severity of their claim.
“The defendants are using what could be victim funds to pay their legal fees despite many of them being billionaires,” a source familiar with the negotiations said.
Among the defendants are Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein and former board members such as New York Knicks owner James Dolan.
Plaintiffs allege the men knew about Weinstein’s abuse and did nothing to stop it.
The proposed settlement wouldn’t affect a criminal case pending against Weinstein in Manhattan, where he is charged with rape and other sex crimes, sources said.
He has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations.
But the proposed deal is far from done.
Plaintiff Wedil David is refusing to sign. Her lawyers argued it would line the pockets of defendants’ lawyers rather than victims, and allow the accused to “escape liability and accountability without, apparently, contributing a dime of their own money.”
David, a New Dehli-born actress, alleges Weinstein raped her in 2016.
“She will not participate in a process that is fundamentally flawed and unfair,” David’s lawyers said in a statement Friday.
Another source close to negotiations insisted, “It’s still very much in the negotiation phase and the exact terms are uncertain. We just don’t know.”
This isn’t the first time a deal has fallen through.
The proposed sum is less than half of a $90 million victims’ fund floated in a previous settlement deal that fell apart in March 2018 when a planned sale of the Weinstein Co. collapsed.
The new deal, if finalized, would settle a slew of civil lawsuits also involving the former film studio’s board members and the New York attorney general’s office.
Weinstein Co. executives and the board are accused of failing to protect employees from a hostile work environment and Weinstein’s sexual misconduct in the civil rights lawsuit filed by the New York attorney general’s office last year.
Both the attorney general’s office and a spokesperson for Weinstein refused to comment.
In a tweet Friday, actress Ashley Judd said her lawsuit was not part of the agreement.
She accused Weinstein of blacklisting her after she refused a sexual advance, and her case is ongoing.
Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez — who wore a wire to record Weinstein in 2015 as part of a police sting — accepted $1 million from the disgraced movie mogul in 2015 and is also not part of the current proceedings.
The $44 million payout is intended to cover all plaintiffs with civil cases against Weinstein, but a criminal case in Manhattan continues.
His trial is expected to begin on Sept. 9.
He was arrested on rape charges in May 2018 and stands accused of assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi in his apartment in 2006. He is also charged with raping a woman inside a room at DoubleTree in Midtown in March 2013. That woman has not been publicly identified.
Big Apple civil lawyer Lowell Sidney, who has no clients in the case, called the settlement proposal unusual.
“It certainly appears to be a tone-deaf settlement in that wealthy co-defendants were compensated more than actual victims,” he said.
“I’m sure that it’s a kosher settlement where everything was done with the applicable laws and facts, however, at first glance, it seems unfair to those who have been subjected to Mr. Weinstein’s unwanted advances.”
The Weinstein Co. is currently looking to liquidate.
In bankruptcy proceedings, the studio’s lawyers said repeated failed attempts to resolve the legal claims of women had drained its dwindling resources.
This article originally appeared on Page Six.
Source: Read Full Article