New York Attorney General Letitia James went back on her word when she approved a much-criticized class-action settlement between Harvey Weinstein and a number of his accusers, a lawyer for one of his other victims claims.
James — who touted the proposed $19 million settlement in June — had promised attorneys for victims who were not represented in the class action suit that she would not accept a deal that benefited Weinstein and his brother, Bob Weinstein, said Thomas Giuffra, who represents accuser Alexandra Canosa.
“She made those representations to attorneys for non-settling victims. She said she’d never agree to a settlement that gave Harvey Weinstein money at the expense of the victims,” Giuffra said.
He added that Canosa was “very disappointed that the AG didn’t follow her words.”
A federal judge in Manhattan rejected the proposed settlement earlier this month, saying in a hearing that the terms were unfair to women who had been raped and sexually abused by the Hollywood titan.
The class action suit grouped together staffers who were harassed by the former Miramax boss, but not sexually molested — and women who’ve accused Weinstein of sexual assault and rape.
The proposed deal also set aside about $15 million to cover the legal fees of Weinstein, his brother, Robert Weinstein, and The Weinstein Company’s board of directors, none of whom would have had to admit any wrongdoing or pay any money toward the settlement.
Another lawyer who represents a Weinstein accuser separate of the class-action suit had called the proposal a “cruel hoax” for a majority of the victims, who would get payouts of just $10,000 to $20,000 each.
“The main winners of this deal, if approved, are Harvey Weinstein, Robert Weinstein, and the ultra-wealthy former directors of the Weinstein Company, who will be absolved from liability, contribute nothing to the settlement,” Wigdor wrote in a motion challenging the deal earlier this month.
In a statement, a spokesperson for James defended the proposed deal.
“Attorney General James has been, and will always be a fighter for survivors of sexual assault and harassment,” the statement says.
“Without a comprehensive settlement in this case, dozens of Weinstein survivors will be left with nothing, and will lose their opportunity to find justice, given the statute of limitations has run out on a lot of their cases. These brave women have been through so much, and the Attorney General believes that they deserve to receive what they’ve long been owed,” it adds.
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