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Weinstein bankruptcy plan approved with $17M going to victims

Weinstein bankruptcy plan approved with $17M going to victims
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A Delaware judge has approved a bankruptcy plan for the former film company of convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, with roughly $17 million going to women who have accused the disgraced film producer of sexual harassment and misconduct. 

According to The Associated Press, the revised settlement also provides about $35 million for creditors, with $8.4 million going into a liquidation trust for non-sexual misconduct claims and $9.7 million as reimbursement for defense costs incurred by company officials other than Weinstein. 

Attorneys for producer Alexandra Canosa, actresses Wedil David and Dominique Huett, and a former Weinstein Company employee had objected to the settlement, which included $11.5 million less than under a previous plan that had been thrown out by a federal judge in New York in July. 

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The previously proposed plan included a $19 million settlement for Weinstein’s accusers. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein rejected the proposal, arguing the plaintiffs were improperly grouped together. 

Lawyers for six women who have accused Weinstein and opposed the settlement praised the July ruling. The six women said in an earlier court filing that the settlement would only give accusers $10,000 to $20,000 and would “absolve” Weinstein, his brother Bob and the former directors of the Weinstein Company. If approved, they argued it would have represented “one of the most one-sided and unfair class settlements in history.”

Attorneys for the women now say the new plan approved after a hearing Monday is also unfair, as it stipulates that 55 sexual misconduct claims filed in the bankruptcy case will be evaluated on a point system, with up to 60 points for physical and sexual misconduct claims, a limit of 30 for claims of nonphysical sexual misconduct and up to 10 points for claims of emotional distress and economic harm.

“The point award system pits women against women competing for a limited recovery from the pathetically meager sexual misconduct claims fund,” the attorneys wrote in a statement, according to the AP.

The settlement also states that those with sexual misconduct claims will receive 100 percent of the liquidated value if they agree to release Weinstein from all their legal claims, with those not agreeing to do so receiving 25 percent of the value of their bankruptcy claim. 

“There is nothing fair about a plan that requires a rape victim to release her rapist in order to receive a full reward from the sexual misconduct fund,” the attorneys added in their statement. “There is nothing fair in re-victimizing her financially by reducing her award by 75% if she does not agree to release her rapist.”

Weinstein was convicted last year of sexual assault in the first degree and rape in the third degree and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He also faces separate charges in California of rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and sexual penetration by use of force.