Harvey Weinstein Accusers Pen Open Letter Asking NY AG to Renegotiate Settlement That Would Pay His Lawyers From Victims' Fund

An open letter released Monday from seven of convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein's accusers to New York Attorney General Letitia James urges her to reconsider a proposed civil settlement.

The open letter, posted to Medium and signed by accusers Zoë Brock, Alexandra Canosa, Rowena Chiu, Wedil David, Dominique Huett, Zelda Perkins and Kaja Sokola, urges James to reconsider a proposed settlement to the civil cases against Weinstein and his former companies. According to the letter, "a large percentage of the settlement originally intended for victims" will pay for the lawyers of Weinstein, his brother Robert and former members of the Weinstein Company board of directors.

"The settlement is insulting to all of the survivors in that it represents a small fraction of what should be paid by Mr. Weinstein, his former directors and officers, and large multi-billion dollar insurance companies," the letter says.

Neither Weinstein brother, nor any of the former board members would be paying any of their own money into the settlement, the letter alleges, accusing the settlement of having been brokered by class action attorneys "who do not represent us."

"In addition, the lawyers leading the negotiations for some of the victims... have apparently reached this 'global settlement' with the defendants and insurance companies under which they will be paid millions, while victims will receive only a small fraction of what a settlement was initially expected to yield," the letter says.

"In sum, survivors are being presented with a 'choice' of accepting an unfair settlement that is a fraction of what was originally discussed and for which the main wrongdoers are paying nothing, or proceed against a company that has been stripped of all assets and against our sexual assaulter, whose defense will be funded by the very agreement that would otherwise have been turned down. There is nothing fair or just about this," it continues.

Newsweek reached out to James for comment.

harvey weinstein
Harvey Weinstein was convicted of criminal sexual act in the first degree and rape in the third degree on February 24, 2020. Scott Heins/Getty

Harvey Weinstein was convicted on February 24 of rape in the third degree and committing a criminal sexual act, both felonies. Weinstein faces up to 29 years in jail when he is sentenced Wednesday. The jury acquitted him of the charge of predatory sexual assault and a count of rape in the first degree. The predatory sexual assault charge would have carried a potential sentence of life in prison.

In addition to the civil trial, a number of Weinstein's accusers had filed civil suits against him, seeking damages. A class-action suit with more than 30 accusers was settled for $25 million in December. It's this suit the letter refers to.

Over $12 million of the settlement will go to legal costs for the Weinstein brothers and the former board members, according to the New York Times. The settlement would also protect the board members from future cases, and the accusers would then drop their claims against the board members and the Weinsteins. It is expected that Weinstein will file for personal bankruptcy soon due to the settlement.

The settlement was controversial when it was first announced. Brock, one of the signatories of the letter and a former model said at the time that the settlement terms made her feel "defeated and hopeless," but that there were no other legal alternatives.

Weinstein also faces criminal charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles. A court date has not been set.

Harvey Weinstein Accusers Pen Open Letter Asking NY AG to Renegotiate Settlement That Would Pay His Lawyers From Victims' Fund | News