AceShowbiz - A New York federal judge has rejected a $19 million (£15 million) settlement for a group of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct victims, branding the proposal "obnoxious."
During a conference call on Tuesday (14Jul20), Judge Alvin Hellerstein refused to approve the offer, made in response to a 2017 class action lawsuit, believed to represent more than 30 women who have come forward with claims of sexual abuse or harassment against the convicted rapist.
The agreement was part of a larger settlement, which would also resolve a suit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James in February, 2018 against Harvey, his brother Bob, and executives at The Weinstein Company, over the hostile work environment employees were subjected to at the firm, but the judge did not consider the grouping together of victims to be fair.
"Women who have been raped are entitled to a much greater recovery than women who just met Harvey Weinstein," he declared. "(The) settlement would create an equality among those people."
Under the terms of the now-dismissed proposal, the disgraced producer's lawyers would receive payment too, an idea Judge Hallerstein ruled was "obnoxious."
A number of plaintiffs had also expressed their opposition to the deal because it does not require Weinstein to admit liability or pay out any money from his own pocket.
Douglas Wigdor, who represents six women who objected to the settlement, celebrated the ruling after the hearing.
"(We) are pleased that Judge Hellerstein swiftly rejected the one-sided proposal," he said. "On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers."
Meanwhile, a representative for Attorney General James explained she will "review the decision and determine next steps."
"Our office has been fighting tirelessly to provide these brave women with the justice they are owed and will continue to do so," James' spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly told CNN.
Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence in a New York prison after being found guilty of sexual assault and rape in the third degree.