Over 30 alleged victims have agreed to a tentative $25 million settlement with Harvey Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio, according to the New York Times. Under the deal, Weinstein is not required to admit wrongdoing or pay anything to accusers himself. The legal settlement requires court approval and a final sign-off from all parties. According to several lawyers close to the case, the settlement has so far been approved by all major parties. The actresses and former Weinstein employees have collectively accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, misconduct, and rape. Eighteen accusers would share $6.2 million of the $25 million payout, with no individual receiving more than $500,000. The remaining $18.5 million will go to those who were part of a class-action case, the New York attorney general’s suit, and future claimants. Payments will be decided by the court based on the severity of the harm caused. As part of the deal, the alleged victims must drop their claims against Weinstein and other Weinstein Company executives. If finalized, the agreement would settle almost all of the current lawsuits against Weinstein and his former company. The $25 million will be paid by insurance companies representing the Weinstein Company, which is actively in bankruptcy proceedings.
The global legal settlement is part of a larger $47 million deal intended to settle the Weinstein Company’s outstanding obligations. That includes $12 million going toward legal costs for Weinstein; his brother, Bob; and former members of the company’s board. According to several plaintiffs’ lawyers, Weinstein claimed he may file for personal bankruptcy. The former movie producer is scheduled to be tried in Manhattan in January. He is being charged with two predatory sexual-assault counts, one count of rape in the first degree, one count of rape in the third degree, and one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree. Weinstein pleaded not guilty.
The proposed settlement is different from the criminal case that landed Weinstein back in court today.
While this possible settlement would largely end misconduct-related civil cases against the disgraced movie producer, his criminal trial for alleged rape and sexual assault is still scheduled for January 6, 2020.
Also, some of Weinstein’s accusers insist they won’t accept the proposed settlement, setting the stage for a potential legal battle over its approval.
Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who rep several Weinstein accusers, said in a statement about information in the Times story: “We reject the notion that this was the best settlement that could have been achieved on behalf of the victims.”
“It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind non participating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein Company itself,” the statement said. “While we don’t begrudge victims who want to settle, we plan to vigorously object to any provision that tries to bind victims who want to proceed with holding Harvey Weinstein accountable for his actions which is exactly what we intend to do.”
Thomas Giuffra, who represents Weinstein accuser Alexandra Canosa, said the deal isn’t all that different than others that have floated before. Canosa will not accept the proposed settlement, he said.
Giuffra said that those leading the charge for this settlement are trying to push for a deal in the face of opposition from accusers, such as his client. “I really can’t figure out,” he told Vulture. “It just seems so wrong.”
Giuffra said he will fight the settlement in bankruptcy court, which has to sign off on money matters related to the Weinstein Company since the company has gone bust.