Harvey Weinstein accuser demands deposition days after US court approves settlement amount

Alexandra Canosa, who had accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, maintained in court papers that depositions will help her decide whether to accept a settlement.

The Associated Press February 03, 2021 10:54:44 IST
Harvey Weinstein accuser demands deposition days after US court approves settlement amount

In this 24 Feb, 2020 photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at a Manhattan courthouse as jury deliberations continue in his rape trial in New York (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

A producer who says disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein repeatedly sexually assaulted and raped her over seven years says she wants him deposed for a lawsuit even though she might accept a settlement.

Alexandra Canosa, a producer on Netflix’s Marco Polo, maintained late Monday in court papers that depositions will help her decide whether to accept a settlement approved last week by a Delaware bankruptcy court judge.

Of the $35 million set aside for creditors, the settlement calls for roughly half to go to Weinstein’s accusers.

Attorney Thomas Giuffra said in the Manhattan federal court filing that Canosa will decide whether to settle after seeing depositions and learning the size of a payout.

“Ms Canosa will have a monumental settlement decision to make,” he wrote.

The lawyer said Canosa was deposed last week and Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob should face questions too.

“It is not fair or equitable that Ms Canosa as a victim of horrendous abuse should be subjected to a lengthy and intrusive deposition so that Defendants could evaluate her claims while being deprived of the same opportunity by deposing her abuser and his principal enabler,” Giuffra wrote.

Late Tuesday, Manhattan Judge Paul A Engelmayer reiterated that the Weinstein brothers must be deposed by 12 February. He said he could drop the deadline if Giuffra doesn’t adequately explain why Canosa doesn’t yet know how much she’d collect from the settlement or if Weinstein’s lawyers convince him the imprisoned Weinstein is too ill to be deposed.

In her lawsuit, Canosa alleged she was raped, sexually abused, intimidated and harassed from 2010 until September 2017, during what Harvey Weinstein maintained were business meetings. The attacks, she said, occurred in New York, Los Angeles, Malaysia and Budapest, Hungary. Canosa claims Weinstein threatened that she would lose her job at his company and he would blackball her if she denied his advances.

Weinstein attorney Imran H Ansari said Tuesday in an email that Canosa, who is suing for $30 million, could face an uncertain financial recovery “with The Weinstein Company bankrupt, and Mr Weinstein, who denies the claims against him and stands by evidence in this case that establishes an amicable and consensual relationship, in a financial state that is far from healthy.”

“Those Plaintiffs who have availed themselves of the settlement likely recognise that it is the only route to a realistic recovery,” he added.

Court records show at least 55 claims have been filed in the bankruptcy case, with over 39 accusers having supported the payout plan and eight voting against it. The plan calls for awards to be calculated with a formula that distinguishes between physical sexual or nonphysical sexual claims as well as claims for emotional distress and economic harm.

Lawyers for Bob Weinstein, who is also named in Canosa’s lawsuit, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Last year, Harvey Weinstein began serving a 23-year prison sentence after a New York jury convicted him for the rape and sexual assault of two women.

He also faces rape, forcible oral copulation and other charges in California after five women said they were attacked during events in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013.

Giuffra noted that Weinstein is incarcerated in a New York prison, where he can be deposed virtually.

A deposition soon was of “heightened importance” because Weinstein’s lawyers have indicated their client, 68, has serious health problems, he said.

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