The Weinstein company may be ready to move on from the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but its legal and PR teams are still fighting with the women who he lured into his orbit through the promise of “fame, riches and success” — it will be 36 years before he “comes clean.”
On Friday, The Weinstein Company, as it is formally known, filed its first opposition to the Weinstein Company Plaintiffs’ request for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction that would bar the alleged abuse from ending up in the hands of court-appointed evaluators.
The five women suing have asked the court to require TWC to prepare a report containing critical information about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual conduct in connection with the nine settlements and claims of non-consensual sex he has admitted making with them, and to “provide the plaintiffs with a copy of that report and the attorneys’ fees and costs thereof.”
The company responded in a court filing saying that the request was a “meritless appeal,” that it was “utterly frivolous,” and that it would not comply with the requirements. The company also said that it had already provided records to the plaintiffs.
Weinstein had previously claimed he was unaware of his alleged misconduct, and the Weinstein Company attorneys have maintained that, saying in their filing that “none of the allegations in the complaints arise out of business dealings or transactions within the (company) and its affiliates.”
But the Weinstein Company ultimately dropped a big allegation by Roberta Kaplan, a local celebrity and attorney who is representing the plaintiffs, in a recent filing: that the company’s attorneys offered confidentiality to Harvey Weinstein in exchange for his agreeing to stay quiet about alleged harassment by different people other than him.
“Weinstein faced a number of threats over the years by others in the (company) related to the content of his employment contract,” the company said in its filing.
But it also admitted to providing the court with recordings of conversations between Harvey Weinstein and one of his accusers, to listen to which criminal investigation they were conducting. The company said the recording was disclosed to the police and the attorneys “are confident it will not be relevant to the New York grand jury.”
The Weinstein Company also had to acknowledge the discovery of a supplement, filed by Katie Russell, an assistant director on television’s Brothers. Russell, who alleges she was sexually assaulted by Harvey Weinstein while the filmmaker tried to have her fired, said the alleged sexual assault occurred while she was on a work trip to Rome with Weinstein.
The Weinstein Company said the allegation “is completely false.” It also said that it was “vigorously defending” against Russell’s lawsuit, and that it “dismissed the suit at the earliest opportunity.”
“We regret that Ms. Russell has gone public with her accusations,” the company said. “We believe her statements were made without the counsel’s consent. She sought to obtain Harvey Weinstein’s employment contract, which is privileged.”
When the Weinstein Company filed its opening brief in November, it aggressively attacked the proposition that anyone else could be a person of interest to prosecutors in any New York or Los Angeles police investigation. The filing said that it was not true that Weinstein was limited to accused victims in the criminal cases — that he could be questioned by investigators about allegations against another, “persons unknown.” And even if he was not subject to another criminal investigation by police, the company claimed, “the NYPD’s initial investigation concerning criminal conduct in certain New York City locations remains ongoing.”
The explosive new filing proves that the company may be willing to fight, even to the end, on that last point.