Harvey Weinstein and the board of his former film studio have reached a tentative $25 million settlement with more than 30 women who have accused the former Hollywood producer of sexual misconduct.
The settlement would effectively put an end to nearly all the lawsuits brought against the movie mogul and his company from more than 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees who have agreed to the deal and would share in the payout, The New York Times reported.
The news outlet verified the deal by speaking to lawyers involved in the negotiations, some of whom spoke on condition of anonymity.
As part of the deal, Weinstein would not be required to admit any wrongdoing, and he would avoid having to pay his alleged victims himself, as the settlement’s cost would be covered by insurance companies representing the Weinstein Company, The New York Times reported.
Weinstein, 67, has been accused of sexual misconduct dating back decades by more than 70 women. He has denied the allegations, saying any sexual encounters were consensual.
Several lawyers told the outlet the tentative settlement has gained preliminary approval from the major parties involved. It would require court approval and a final signoff before moving forward.
Weinstein’s alleged victims involved in the proposed settlement would reportedly make their claims in bankruptcy court, and the $25 million payout would be part of a $47 million settlement to close out the studio’s obligations.
The terms of the settlement remain unclear, however. According to The New York Times, $6.2 million would be split between 18 of the alleged victims, with a maximum of $500,000 per individual. Meanwhile, a separate $18.5 million would be put aside for individuals involved in a class-action case, the New York attorney general’s suit, and any future claimants.
Representatives for Weinstein refused to provide comment to the outlet.
Katherine Kendall, a 50-year-old actress, told the paper she only agreed to the settlement’s terms because she didn’t want to ruin other plaintiffs’ chances of receiving recompense.
“I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him,” she said. “I don’t know what I can really do.”
Another accuser, 45-year-old Zoe Brock, a former model, said she felt “defeated and hopeless” by agreeing to the terms of the proposed settlement, particularly as the payout would not come from either Weinstein’s, or his former board members’ own pockets.
Weinstein faces separate criminal charges of sexual assault involving two women—one in 2006 and another in 2013. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He is due to appear in court in Manhattan for a trial scheduled for Jan. 6, 2020, and could be sentenced to life imprisonment if convicted on the top counts.
On Dec. 11 his bail was raised to $2 million from $1 million after he allegedly failed to wear his electronic ankle monitor on “numerous” occasions, breaching his bail terms. The increased bail is reportedly part of a pledge Weinstein will not flee his upcoming criminal sexual assault case.
The insurance bond will be secured by Weinstein’s original bail and some other assets, Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, said Wednesday.
In Weinstein’s January trial, prosecutors intend to establish a pattern of behavior by calling other women to testify besides the two main accusers in the case.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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Author: Isabel van Brugen