Harvey Weinstein fails in bid to pause class action suit
KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Harvey Weinstein suffered a setback on Tuesday when a judge in New York denied his request to pause a class action suit brought against him in June by 10 of his female accusers, according to court documents obtained The Hollywood Reporter.
Weinstein argued there was an overlap between the civil case, and should he be called to testify in an early deposition, he might have to invoke his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. His lawyers insisted that he should not be “forced to make the difficult choice between being prejudiced in the civil litigation, if he asserts his Fifth Amendment privilege or from being prejudiced in the criminal litigation if he … waives that privilege in the civil litigation.”
The plaintiffs in the civil case responded by arguing it would be them experiencing prejudice due to the depletion of Weinstein’s financial resources to pay a possible judgment.
“At this stage in the litigation, Weinstein’s Fifth Amendment concerns are merely speculative,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated in court documents. “No testimony is required of Weinstein at this early pleading stage. The briefing and hearing on any motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint will not implicate Weinstein’s Fifth Amendment rights whatsoever.”
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein sided with the women, directing Weinstein to file his motion to dismiss on or before January 28. Oral arguments will take place on March 7 — the same date of the next hearing in the movie mogul’s criminal case.
Weinstein received better news when it came to the women’s request to restrain his use of documents obtained in discovery in the bankruptcy proceeding. The women contended that Weinstein was “using their private information to wage a public battle,” according to THR. Weinstein insisted that the First Amendment “allowed him to defend himself and that such an order would amount to a veritable gag order.” Hellerstein ruled in favor of Weinstein on this issue.
Weinstein’s facing five criminal counts in New York of rape and sexual assault, all of which he’s denied. A sixth count against the film producer was dismissed in October after prosecutors revealed to the defense that they’d discovered a written account from his accuser that suggested the encounter that prompted the count against him was consensual.
Weinstein’s trial is set for May 6.
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