Harvey Weinstein: Judge rejects $19 million preliminary settlement calling it ‘phony’

The settlement rejection sends the New York attorney general back to the drawing board

A settlement to the tune of $19 million between Harvey Weinstein and a number of his accusers was rebuffed by a judge on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, in Manhattan via a virtual hearing, told the class counsel that accusers, who opposed the class-action lawsuit, were too broad to be grouped together in a filing and described the settlement as “phony” and said it should not exist in its current state.

Douglas Wigdor, who represents six Weinstein survivors who have objected to the proposed class settlement, told Fox News in a statement on Tuesday that his side was “pleased” the judge “swiftly rejected the one-sided proposal.”

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“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,” Wigdor wrote. “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.”

The lawsuit filed against Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC (“TWC”), and certain former officers, directors, and employees of TWC was announced on June 30, and a spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James said her office is reviewing the latest rejection to determine their next course of action.

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“Our office has been fighting tirelessly to provide these brave women with the justice they are owed and will continue to do so,” Morgan Rubin said in a written statement obtained by The Associated Press.

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 to some women who accused Weinstein of allegedly sexually abusing them.

Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse for jury deliberations in his rape trial, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in New York. 

Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse for jury deliberations in his rape trial, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, in New York.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

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If approved by the court, the settlement will create a victims’ fund allowing all women who were abused by Harvey Weinstein under certain circumstances to make claims for damages in a confidential and non-adversarial process.

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, the global movement to hold powerful men accountable for their sexual misconduct.

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Weinstein was diagnosed with the coronavirus in March, 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.