Six women have filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein claiming the disgraced mogul’s efforts to cover up his alleged crimes amount to civil racketeering.
The lawsuit, filed in New York and obtained by People, claims that Weinstein’s former companies Miramax, The Weinstein Company and members of its board conspired with the producer to “perpetuate and conceal [his] widespread sexual harassment and assault.”
“We are but six women representing hundreds,” the plaintiffs said in a statement. “Harvey Weinstein is a predator. Bob knew it. The board knew it. The lawyers knew it. The private investigators knew it,” they continued.
“How could so many women have been violated? How could so many people have covered up for him? How could so many people have done nothing to help? Money,” they added.
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According to the lawsuit, “The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein’s conduct became more difficult to conceal.”
In a press release, attorneys for the plaintiffs said, “The lawsuit brings various charges against Weinstein, his companies, and members of The Weinstein Company’s Board of Directors for violating the RICO Act, witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The women, who have all told their stories publicly in the past, include Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt.
The lawsuit comes the day after The New York Times published an in-depth exposé into what the newspaper labeled Weinstein’s “complicity machine.”
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The wide-ranging report, which capped off two months of reporting on the embattled mogul, outlined a web of coverups, complicity and intimidation tactics allegedly orchestrated by the mogul. Weinstein, says the report, leveraged a network of power players in journalism, Hollywood and politics in an attempt to silence those who might accuse him of sexual assault or harassment.
On Tuesday, Weinstein’s attorneys Blair Berk and Ben Brafman disputed claims of inappropriate advances in the report, saying Weinstein’s recollections differed from those of his accusers.
The Oscar-winning producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles in October.
In a statement to People, Weinstein’s attorneys, Berk and Brafman, said: “Mr. Weinstein has never at any time committed an act of sexual assault, and it is wrong and irresponsible to conflate claims of impolitic behavior or consensual sexual contact later regretted, with an untrue claim of criminal conduct. There is a wide canyon between mere allegation and truth, and we are confident that any sober calculation of the facts will prove no legal wrongdoing occurred.
“Nonetheless, to those offended by Mr. Weinstein’s behavior, he remains deeply apologetic.”
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