A $19 million settlement between Harvey Weinstein and some of his accusers and the state of New York was rejected Tuesday by a judge. US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan said Weinstein’s accusers in the proposed class-action settlement were too varied to be grouped together.
Three lawyers for several women who had opposed the deal praised what they described as Hellerstein’s swift rejection of a one-sided proposal. “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,” the lawyers wrote in a statement released by one of the attorneys, Douglas Wigdor. “On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers.”
A spokesperson for Weinstein did not comment. A lawyer for his companies declined comment.
A spokesperson for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who announced the tentative agreement on June 30, said her office was reviewing the decision and determining its next steps. “Our office has been fighting tirelessly to provide these brave women with the justice they are owed and will continue to do so,” Morgan Rubin said in a written statement.
The deal to settle lawsuits brought by the New York attorney general’s office and Elizabeth Fegan, a Chicago lawyer, on behalf of multiple women aimed to provide between $7,500 and $750,000 to some women who accused Weinstein of sexually abusing them. Fegan said in a statement that attorneys who negotiated the deal were disappointed.
“We’ve long held that we needed to find justice for all the women that Weinstein preyed upon in a fair and equitable way. Now, we need to turn our attention to litigating our clients’ individual cases,” she said.
The 68-year-old former Hollywood producer was convicted earlier this year of rape and sexual assault against two women. Accusations by dozens of women in 2017 led to the downfall of his career and helped spur #MeToo, the global movement to hold powerful men accountable for their sexual misconduct.
Weinstein was diagnosed in March with the coronavirus just days after he was moved to the state’s maximum security Wende Correctional Facility near Buffalo to begin serving his 23-year prison sentence.