By: Casey Leigh Jackson
A lawyer for one of Harvey Weinstein’s victims is pointing a finger at New York Attorney General Letitia James for going back on her word to approve the heavily contested class-action settlement. In June, James had pushed the proposed settlement, which bundles the suits against the 67-year-old former movie mogul, and which only earmarks $19 million for payouts to the victims.
As reported by the NY Post, Lawyer Thomas Giuffra, who represents victim Alexandra Canosa, said he is “very disappointed that the AG didn’t follow her words.” He said James had promised attorneys for victims who were not represented in the class action suit that she would not accept any deal which would benefit Weinstein and his company. “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.
Notwithstanding, a Manhattan federal judge rejected the suggested settlement, saying at the hearing that the terms were unfair to the victims who were raped or sexually abused. The included victims would each only get payouts of $10,000 to $20,000. The deal would also set aside about $15 million to the pay legal fees for Weinstein, his brother Robert, and The Weinstein Company’s board of directors, none of whom would even be required to admit to any wrongdoing, and would be released of future accountability, as per the court papers. Another $7.3 million would go to the company’s creditors, in the deal which is worth a total of $46.8 million.
“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,” Douglas Wigdor, the lawyer for the women, wrote in a motion challenging the deal earlier in July.
Proponents for the deal said that it was a chance to get something, considering the troubled finances of Weinstein, who was sentenced to 23 years in jail in March. In a statement, a spokesperson for James defended the rejected 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.”