The Weinstein Co. has asked the bankruptcy court judge to reject its former co-chairman’s request for hundreds of thousands of company emails spanning more than a dozen years to help Harvey Weinstein “exonerate himself” of sexual misconduct allegations.
In a filing today (read it here), the company said Weinstein’s document request has nothing to do with the current bankruptcy proceedings — and would bleed scarce time and resources at a critical juncture in its efforts to sell the studio’s film and television assets.
“While Mr. Weinstein purports to seek ‘narrowly tailored discovery’ … in reality he seeks the unrestricted disclosure of 12 years worth of emails for purposes wholly unrelated to these bankruptcy proceedings,” the company responded. “The motion should be denied.”
The Weinstein Co. estimated it would cost $750,000 or more to review some 800,000 documents on Weinstein’s email accounts and make the necessary redactions of privileged or protected information — money that hasn’t been provided for under the company’s bankruptcy financing.
Weinstein has said he needs access to his old e-mails and files to defend himself amid ongoing federal and state criminal investigations in New York, Los Angeles and London. The company’s denial of his document requests violate his rights to “due process.”
The Weinstein Co. counters that Harvey Weinstein has tried twice before to obtain these same documents — once in a Delaware Chancery Court and again in arbitration. The arbitrator in February denied the request as “over-broad.” The Delaware dispute, which was scheduled for trial in May, was paused by the bankruptcy filing.
Weinstein’s latest effort to obtain old emails and correspondence amount to an “end run” around these earlier legal developments — and one that has no bearing on the bankruptcy case, the company argues in its court filing. It asserts Weinstein could gain access to these documents through the normal court discovery process, in a civil or criminal case (though he has not been charged with any crime to date).
The Weinstein Co. also flatly rejected Weinstein’s assertion that his former company would somehow benefit from his legal defense.
“As the debtors explained before, they neither need nor want Mr. Weinstein’s help examining company documents or defending litigation,” The Weinstein Co. said. “Indeed, the debtors have claims against Mr. Weinstein for, among other things, the value destruction his alleged conduct brought to the company.”