Accused repeat sex offender Harvey Weinstein has reached a deal with a group of his accusers, according to reports, but Weinstein will not have to admit any wrongdoing or pay the settlement out of his own pocket.
Weinstein’s attorneys announced the deal late Wednesday, noting that the disgraced film mogul and his bankrupt movie studio will pay $47 million, $25 million of which will divided among “dozens” of women who claim they were harassed, molested, and even sexually assaulted by Weinstein.
“Under terms of the proposed deal, which took less than two years to hammer out and would have to be approved by the judges in two cases involving him,” NBC News reports, “Weinstein wouldn’t be required to admit to wrongdoing or to pay his accusers directly, according to [accuser Caitlin] Dulaney and [a] third woman’s attorney.”
Instead, Weinstein’s insurance company, which covered his now-bankrupt movie studio will be forced to pay his accusers. Around $6 million of the settlement will go to 14 named accuers who have each sued Weinstein individually. A little over $18 million will be set aside in an escrow account to pay out victims who joined a class action lawsuit against Weinstein and his production company in New York. That fund will pay out on an ongoing basis, to all victims who come forward with claims supported by evidence, until the statute of limitations on Weinstein’s alleged crimes runs out.
Not everyone was happy with the settlement, which greatly favors Weinstein — possibly because he’s both protected by the law and by a better legal team.
One victim, who accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, told NBC News that the “settlement breaks my heart,” but that she signed on to the deal because she and her team “explored every other legal option and at this point have found no alternative.”
Lawyers who represent two other accusers assailed the deal for paying lawyers first: “It is shameful that $12 million of the settlement is going to the lawyers for the directors who we alleged enabled Harvey Weinstein and it is even more outrageous that the proposed settlement will seek to bind nonparticipating members by providing a release to the insurance companies and the directors of the Weinstein company itself.”
She told the national news outlet that she hopes the criminal justice system isn’t as easy on Weinstein as the civil courts, but that’s a long shot. Although investigators have compiled evidence against Weinstein in several jurisdictions, cases in London and Los Angeles, California, seem to have stalled. In New York, things are going slightly better. Back in September, a court there “streamlined” criminal prosecution of Weinstein, combining several outstanding cases against him, according to USA Today.
“The current line-up of charges against Weinstein now includes: Two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act, and two counts of rape, for a total of five charges,” the outlet noted.
Weinstein is doing his best to court public sympathy, even though his accusers number nearly a hundred. Wednesday, as he walked out of court, he leaned on a walker (he claims to have ongoing, severe back pain). He also likely consulted a public image stylist. In addition to cheap medical device, Weinstein was dressed in an ill-fitting, cheap suit, and a pair of off-the-rack black sneakers.