Following two years of court appearances, harrowing stories and shocking op-eds involving disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein, it looks like it all might be coming to an end.
According to a bombshell report from the New York Times, Weinstein and the board of his bankrupt film studio, The Weinstein Company (TWC), have reached a tentative $25-million settlement with dozens of alleged victims of sexual harassment and misconduct.
Lawyers involved in the settlement say that as part of the deal, Weinstein would not have to admit any wrongdoing and would not have to pay any of the individual accusers out of his own pocket. The deal, which is still pending court approval, would be paid out by insurance companies representing TWC.
Ever since the first accusations were levied against Weinstein, now 67, in late 2017, he has denied any and all accusations, claiming that all sexual interactions with purported accusers were consensual. For the latest NYT report, Weinstein and his representatives declined to comment; same for lawyers representing board members and other peripheral parties.
The dozens of accusers, many of whom have filed lawsuits against Weinstein and TWC, would be eligible to share in the payout. Ultimately, should the deal go through, it will bring almost every lawsuit against him and TWC to a close.
Time’s Up, a movement sparked by the Weinstein accusations and #MeToo, tweeted their disappointment in the potential settlement, breaking down where the payouts would go.
“If this is the best the survivors could get, the system is broken,” read the tweet in part.
Weinstein is to face a criminal trial in early January on charges of sexual assault.
His bail was increased from US$1 million to $5 million on Wednesday over allegations he violated his pretrial release conditions by mishandling or disabling his electronic ankle monitor dozens of times in recent months.
Judge James Burke warned the disgraced movie mogul that he’ll face jail if other issues crop up.
Weinstein leaned on a walker as he came and went from a New York City courthouse for the bail hearing, looking as frail and pained as he did at a court appearance last week.
Weinstein’s lawyer said he is having back surgery Thursday to relieve pain from an August car crash and that he will recover in time for the start of his trial.
“If you have any further medical issues, the court will not be terribly understanding,” Burke said, cautioning Weinstein against any last-minute surprises as the trial draws near.
Weinstein, sounding calm and respectful, indicated the surgery and new bail arrangement would help ensure his appearance at his trial.
“This ensures I am here Jan. 6,” Weinstein said. “This is a good thing for you.”
Weinstein’s lawyer, Donna Rotunno, said he is “looking forward” to the trial and that they plan an aggressive defence with vigorous cross-examination. She said those tactics shouldn’t be viewed as victim-shaming.
“Just because someone makes a claim doesn’t make it true,” Rotunno said.
Prosecutor Joan Illuzzi first raised Weinstein’s alleged bail violations at a hearing last Friday, saying that he’d left his whereabouts unrecorded for hours at a time by repeatedly, purposely leaving at home a piece of the monitoring technology that keeps the ankle bracelet activated.
Illuzzi said Wednesday there were 57 violations in less than two months.
Rotunno has denied it was anything deliberate, blaming “technical glitches” like dead batteries and said it had nothing to do with manipulation of the bracelet, though she acknowledged that on at least one occasion, he’d forgotten part of the device at his house.
But on Wednesday, Illuzzi told the court that the person monitoring Weinstein does not believe the problems were due to technical glitches, but rather intentional acts by Weinstein because he “didn’t want anyone to know where he was.”
In recent months, Weinstein has been spotted hobnobbing at Manhattan nightclubs and getting jeered at a recent actors showcase.
—With files from The Associated Press