Harvey Weinstein sues famous attorney who dropped his NY criminal case

Disgraced movie mogul is looking to get a $1 million refund from his former attorney Jose Baez

Harvey Weinstein is suing attorney Jose Baez who dropped his criminal case in New York back in 2019. The disgraced producer is demanding a refund of $1 million, plus interest, from his former attorney and his partner Michelle Medina, Fox News has learned.  

"Baez refused to provide any substantive or meaningful legal services to Weinstein in contravention of (their) Engagement", the lawsuit claims.  

Jose Baez is a Florida criminal defense attorney who landed in the national spotlight when he defended Casey Anthony against charges that she murdered her daughter. He would then later also win an acquittal for Aaron Hernandez.   

Weinstein, who was charged with sexual assault in 2018 by New York state prosecutors, had parted ways with power attorney Ben Braffman, the former movie mogul was desperately looking for a new power team. That’s when he entered an agreement with Baez in January 2019. The lawsuit alleges that Baez agreed to be paid on a "work on a fee-for-service with co-counsel Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. through the end of all trial and post-trial basis proceedings" in exchange for $2 million in monthly payments of $200 thousand. 

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But Weinstein alleges that Baez required a non-refundable clause, which the producer now disputes its legality in the state of New York.  

Criminal defense attorney Jose Baez is being sued by Harvey Weinstein. 

Criminal defense attorney Jose Baez is being sued by Harvey Weinstein.  (Vallery Jean/Getty Images)

For the months Baez was working for him, he says the lawyer was "regularly unavailable to communicate to Weinstein, and not directly involved with the compilation, investigation, research, and drafting of various high priority substantive legal work which was substantially delegated to other non-Baez Law Firm attorneys such as Ronald S. Sullivan Jr."  

By the end of May of that same year, Weinstein requested Baez to produce an accounting of the time and work spent on the case, but the movie mogul says Baez refused. By then, Ronald Sullivan Jr., who faced backlash from students and was removed by Harvard as faculty dean for being part of Weinstein’s defense team, had already withdrawn from the case.  

It was around this time, Weinstein alleges, that Baez started threatening to withdraw from his case and then demanded to be paid the remaining $1 million immediately. By summer of 2019, Baez officially requested the court and withdrew from the producer’s legal team.  

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FILE — In this Feb. 21, 2020 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan court.

FILE — In this Feb. 21, 2020 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan court. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Over a year later, after Weinstein’s conviction and his "last demand" from the Baez firm, he would be invoiced for "$1,028.227.50" in an excel spreadsheet that the plaintiff now says "contains time entries and hourly rates that violate New York law."

Weinstein’s attorneys say they have requested a refund several times but that Baez and Medina have failed to produce "any meaningful response."

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"This isn’t about Harvey. This is about Jose Baez’s conduct. This is about Jose Baez illegal actions with his client. Every citizen’s rights in NY and their prospective relationship with an attorney is at heart here," Gary Kavulich, an attorney for Weinstein, said.  

Joe Tacopina, an attorney for Baez and Medina, said in a statement sent to Fox News: "Harvey Weinstein’s lawsuit against Jose Baez and his firm is nothing more than yet another predatory act by a vile fiend, utterly lacking in credibility.  Unable to satisfy his sick deviant interests by preying upon vulnerable women from behind bars, Weinstein, the rapist, has sought to satisfy his avarice by seeking a financial windfall to which he is not entitled. In yet another legal blunder, Weinstein’s lawsuit has opened the door to disclosure of damning statements by him which would otherwise have been shielded by the attorney-client privilege.  Despite Weinstein’s penchant for bullying, Jose Baez is an upstanding pillar of the legal community who will not be pushed around and looks forward to exposing Weinstein’s claims for what they are, audacious lies."

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Harvey Weinstein is serving a 23-year sentence in New York for rape and sexual assault, and now faces 11 counts in California, including rape and sexual battery involving five incidents that allegedly took place between 2004 and 2013. If convicted, he faces up to 140 years behind bars.