Harvey Weinstein could still go to jail

Stuff of the silver screen.
Stuff of the silver screen.
Image: Reuters/Carlo Allegri
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The movie producer Harvey Weinstein may have reached a settlement in a civil suit involving 80 women who accuse him of sexual misconduct, but his legal woes are far from over and he could still end up behind bars.

Weinstein and his former studio, the Weinstein Company, on May 23 reportedly agreed to a tentative $44 million settlement in a civil suit over sexual misconduct. The plaintiffs in the civil case aren’t all satisfied with the terms of that deal, however, which means it may fall through, and he is still facing other complaints. Criminal charges in two sexual assault cases in New York are also pending, so the possibility of incarceration remains.

The proposed deal would be covered by insurance and pay out $30 million to Weinstein’s accusers, creditors of his former studio, and some former employees. The remaining $14 million would go to paying the legal fees of the producer’s co-defendants, who were also named in the suit. This means that his 80 or so accusers would end up with about $375,000 each. It is far less than the $90 million originally discussed for a victims’ fund in a settlement contemplated last year.

The model Zoe Brock—who accused Weinstein of sexually inappropriate behavior at a hotel in Cannes during the 1998 film festival in a Medium post in October 2017, right after allegations against him were published in the New York Times—said she is “heartbroken” over the proposed deal (paywall). Another of his accusers, actress Wedil David, issued a statement through her lawyers on May 24 saying she “steadfastly” rejects the deal.

Attorneys Douglas Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer explained in an email that David doesn’t blame any victim who wants to take the settlement, but say she won’t participate “in a process that is fundamentally flawed and unfair.” They argue that the deal would “provide millions of dollars to the ultra-wealthy directors of the Weinstein Company” and would “allow Harvey Weinstein and the men who enabled him, including his brother, Robert Weinstein, to escape liability and accountability without, apparently, contributing a dime of their own money.”

The actress Ashley Judd, among the first of Weinstein’s accusers to speak up about the producer’s conduct, is not a party to the same case. She tweeted on Friday that she is still going forward with her civil suit against the producer and plans to take it to trial.

Weinstein is also charged criminally for raping a woman in a New York hotel room in 2013 and forcibly performing oral sex on another woman at his Manhattan apartment in 2006. He faces two counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and is expected to go to trial in September. Weinstein faces a maximum of 25 years in prison on the first-degree rape charge alone.