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Six Harvey Weinstein accusers call $18.9 million New York settlement a ‘cruel hoax’

Six women who claim they were sexually abused by Harvey Weinstein urged a U.S. judge on Monday to reject an $18.9 million settlement with the disgraced movie producer, the board of his former studio and other accusers. FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein arrives at New York Criminal Court for his sexual assault trial in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., February 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon/File PhotoThe settlement announced on June 30 would end litigation by New York Attorney General Letitia James and separate class-action litigation, and permit accusers to claim $7,500 to $750,000 each. But in a Manhattan federal court filing, the six women said accusers would receive just $11.2 million after deducting legal fees and costs, with typical awards of just $10,000 to $20,000, while shielding the defendants’ insurers from big payouts. They also complained that the accord “absolved” Weinstein, his brother Bob Weinstein and the board of liability, while setting aside another $15.2 million to help cover their defense costs. The settlement is “a cruel hoax” and among “the most one-sided and unfair class settlements in history,” the filing said. “The main winners ... are Harvey Weinstein, Robert Weinstein, and the ultra-wealthy former directors of The Weinstein Co.” James’ office and a lawyer for Weinstein did not respond to requests for comment. Gerald Maatman, a lawyer for the Weinstein Cos, declined to comment. The settlement requires approval by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein. In 2010, he initially rejected a settlement for workers suffering from health problems after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, saying he would not approve it “based on fear or ignorance.” Weinstein, 68, is serving a 23-year prison term following his Feb. 24 conviction for sexually assaulting a former production assistant and raping a onetime aspiring actress. He is appealing, and still faces rape and sexual assault charges in Los Angeles. The guilty verdict was a milestone for the #MeToo movement, which starting in late 2017 inspired women to accuse hundreds of powerful men in business, entertainment, media, politics and other fields of sexual misconduct.

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