Harvey Weinstein $19 million sex-abuse settlement rejected by federal judge

July 14, 2020, 3:36 PM UTC

A federal judge won’t give preliminary approval to a proposed $18.9 million settlement between Harvey Weinstein and nine women who say he sexually assaulted or abused them, saying the tentative deal isn’t fair to other women.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York said he was rejecting the settlement because the agreement tries to create a group case that covers claims by women who asked to be excluded from a deal. He said the proposal unfairly lumps together women who simply met Weinstein with those who were sexually assaulted by him.

“Not every woman was captured in the same way,” Hellerstein said. “Your settlement would create inequality among all of those people.”

Lawyers for women who opted out of the settlement lauded the decision.

“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,” said Douglas Wigdor, who represents six women who says they were abused by Weinstein. “On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers.”

The women agreeing to the proposed settlement — female actors and screenwriters — sued the movie mogul in December 2017, alleging his namesake company, its officers and directors, and Miramax, the studio he once ran, enabled his predatory conduct. The only remaining defendant in the case is Weinstein, after others won dismissals.

Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence at a maximum security prison in upstate New York after his conviction at a trial this year.