Under investigation by the NYPD, LAPD and London police over allegations of sexual assault, and booted out of his own company earlier this month, Harvey Weinstein today sued The Weinstein Company – to both help himself and them, he claims.
In a filing in Delaware this morning, the disgraced producer is seeking to quickly obtain copies of his complete personal TWC employment file and all correspondence including his company email. Weinstein wants the material for his own defense against being fired, fighting current and possible forthcoming legal action against himself and TWC, and to make sure his stock in the company isn’t hurt if they make “unjustified settlements.”
“Mr. Weinstein believes that his email account – which is the primary, if not only, account he used during the term of his employment by the Company – will contain information exonerating him, and therefore the Company, from claims that may be asserted against him or the Company,” says the filing by Patricia Glaser and a team at Glaser Weil as well as Delaware’s Morris James LLP firm for Weinstein (read it here).
Weinstein’s access to his firstname.lastname@example.org email and other material was blocked when he was terminated by the TWC board three days after the New York Times published its detailed exposé of decades of alleged sexual harassment on October 5. Since that time, and followed by a damning New Yorker article on October 11, up to 60 women have come forward to claim Weinstein either sexually harassed or sexually assaulted them.
Earlier this week, the New York Attorney General sent TWC a subpoena in a possible civil rights violation investigation. Then, in a week that has seen more women go before the media with more claims, on October 24 actress Dominique Huett sued the company for $5 million alleging it covered up Weinstein’s behavior.
In an accompanying motion to expedite (read it here), Weinstein’s lawyers want a judge to order things to move along fast. By fast, they want TWC to have to respond by October 30 and have a hearing on the whole thing by November 10.
“Further, Mr. Weinstein is in a unique position to offer insight, and further explain and contextualize his emails,” Weinstein’s lawyer adds in the complaint, which also seeks attorneys fees. “By providing Mr. Weinstein access to his emails, he can more efficiently assist the Company in its investigation of these issues and defense of the NY AG investigation and any other claims asserted against the Company, such as the one filed on October 25, 2017, against TWC based on Mr. Weinstein’s alleged conduct,” the document offers.
Hollywood heavyweight Glaser did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment on the suit. Reps for TWC did not respond on the matter either, but they have said they want access to whatever documents Weinstein has as well as devices like his phone and laptops.
Today’s filing makes it clear that Weinstein has been asking for the material since soon after he was officially terminated on October 17, only to be rebuffed. “By letter dated October 20, 2017, the Company’s counsel responded to the Demand, rejecting the request to inspect the emails requested and Mr. Weinstein’s personnel file,” the complaint says, taking one of many swings at TWC – who from younger brother Bob Weinstein on down has claimed it had no knowledge of Harvey Weinstein’s conduct.
Having formally resigned last week from the board of the company in which he owns a 23% stake, Weinstein himself, or at least his lawyers, seem to know what he is facing as more allegations come forward.
“In the Demand, Mr. Weinstein explained that his purpose in obtaining the documents requested was to assist in his defense of civil and criminal allegations arising out of or in connection with his employment at TWC and potentially to aid in investigating claims arising out of the wrongful termination of his employment,” the Delaware-filed complaint says.
“Critically, Mr. Weinstein has already seen all of the documents he is requesting, and they are uniquely personal to him,” it goes on to assert. “He did not demand any confidential or proprietary documents. Instead, he solely requested his emails and personnel file.”