US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein Rejected A $ 18.9 Million Victims Fund Proposal That Has Been Paid To Over 80 Women And Cash Who Charged Disgraced Film Producer Harvey Weinstein With Various Forms Of misconduct, reports Reuters. The fund was part of a larger settlement of almost $ 47 million, much of which was to come from the coffers of insurance companies for Weinstein’s own legal defense, which partly explains why it was rejected, said the judge.
Hellerstein called Weinstein’s proposal “unpleasant”, while a statement filed by counsel for six of Weinstein’s accusers in this case called it “cruel hoax”, in part because none of the settlement does not include Weinstein to accept responsibility for his actions. or even admit any wrongdoing.
These lawyers also issued a statement after the decision, expressing their approval of the rejection of the settlement:
“We have been saying for over a year and a half that the terms of settlement were unfair and should never be imposed on victims of sexual assault. We were surprised that counsel for the group and the New York attorney general did not acknowledge this fact but were pleased that Justice Hellerstein quickly rejected the unilateral proposal. On behalf of our clients, we look forward to taking legal action against Harvey Weinstein and his many facilitators. “
The New York Attorney General’s office, mentioned in the above statement, tentatively approved the settlement last month, but now that it has been rejected, it will have to decide what will happen next.
Overall, Weinstein has been charged with some form of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women, and the victim’s $ 18.9 million fund was allegedly directed to “women who have experienced a work environment hostile, sexual harassment and discrimination based on sex while working at The Weinstein Company, as well as sexual abuse of Harvey Weinstein, “according to the attorney general’s office. But as the statement of opposition filed would have pointed out, tens of millions more would have gone to lawyers and even to Weinstein’s own defense:
“The millions of dollars that go to lawyers, corporations and famous actors at the expense of survivors are also reprehensible, while insurance companies pay money on the dollar and Harvey Weinstein himself pays nothing. to prevent women from continuing their litigation and the accountability of those responsible for their trauma is simply unprecedented. We are encouraged by the growing opposition to this regulation and hope that it will be rejected. “
One of Hellerstein J.’s other objections to the settlement was that there was simply too much discrepancy between the complainants’ different experiences with Weinstein, which made a class action decision implausible. As he explained:
“Not all women were captured in the same way … Some abandoned their bodies because of crimes … some by force, and others may have done so voluntarily. your rules create equality. “
Variety reports that the way the settlement would have worked would have been to appoint a “special master” to assess each accuser’s complaint against Weinstein and decide on appropriate monetary compensation to be withdrawn from the $ 18.9 million victim assistance fund dollars. But, according to Justice Hellerstein, such decisions should not be made by anyone who is not themselves a legally appointed judge:
“I don’t see how I could delegate this responsibility to someone who is not a judge … There is no way I can approve a delegation for this trial. Zero.”
No one knows exactly what will happen next, and the rejection was a surprise decision that essentially wiped out 18 months of work on the proposed settlement, leaving all parties to square one.
Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence for third-degree rape and first-degree criminal sex, for which he was convicted in February. And in addition to the civil actions against him, he also faces additional criminal charges in Los Angeles.