U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York has rejected a possible $18.9 million class-action settlement for women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse or workplace harassment.
Weinstein was convicted of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann, a former up -and-coming actress, and one count of a first degree criminal sexual act against Mimi Haley, a former production assistant for “Project Runway”. He was sentenced to 23 years in a maximum security prison.
The federal judge stated his objections to the settlement during a virtual hearing on Tuesday. He deemed the civil settlement unfair to the Weinstein’s accusers, because “it treated them no different from the women who had merely met him” according to Reuters.
Hellerstein also disagreed with a monetary defense fund that is supposed to be set aside for Weinstein and his company, calling it ‘obnoxious.’ Approximately $15 million of the settlement would have gone towards Weinstein’s defense costs, while accusers would have received anywhere from $10-15,000 each.
The funds would have been split between dozens of female accusers. Critics of the settlement called in unfair, claiming that it appeared to absolve Weinstein of any wrongdoing. Attorney’s for six of Weinstein’s accusers applauded the judge for his ruling. They released a joint statement which read:
“…the settlement terms and conditions were unfair and should never be imposed on sexual assault survivors.”
“On behalf of our clients, we look forward to pursuing justice against Harvey Weinstein and his many enablers.”
The settlement, which was announced on June 30th would have ended lawsuit filed in 2018 against Weinstein, his production business and his brother. The suit was originally brought by the New York Attorney General’s office. Another class-action lawsuit brought which covered women who accused Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault would have also been settled. Women who were forced to sign confidentiality agreements are now free to speak and pursue justice.