UPDATED with statement from Ashley Judd’s attorney
Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers are urging a federal court judge to throw out Ashley Judd’s civil suit, arguing that too much time has passed for her to bring a legal claim seeking damages for allegedly ruining her career.
Judd sued Weinstein in April, arguing that the once-powerful Hollywood producer sabotaged her chances of landing a role in the blockbuster The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in 1998. The singer and actress claimed Weinstein retaliated against her after she rejected his sexual demands a year earlier, when he allegedly cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business.
“Weinstein torpedoed Ms. Judd’s incredible professional opportunity when he told (director Peter) Jackson and (production partner Fran) Walsh that the studio had had a ‘bad experience’ with Ms. Judd and that Ms. Judd was a ‘nightmare’ to work with and should be avoided ‘at all costs,'” Judd’s suit charges.
Weinstin’s attorneys argued, in a filing in federal district court in Los Angeles (read it here), that Judd waited too long to bring her civil suit.
“Plaintiff certainly knew of the alleged sexual harassment and her injuries, if any, at the time of the hotel encounter. She further knew she was not cast in LOTR by the time filming began (the first film was released in December 2001),” Weinstein’s lawyers counter in a legal memo. “But she claims she did not know until late 2017 that Weinstein was purportedly behind the casting decision.”
Weinstein’s lawyers maintain Judd never asked Jackson why she was not cast in a role, despite promising conversations with the director. And her failure to bring a timely complaint “is due to her own lack of reasonable diligence, and not any affirmative misconduct on Weinstein’s part.”
The attorneys make other arguments as well, that Judd failed to demonstrate that the purported harassment was anything but an isolated incident, claiming that the two had struck “a bargain” with respect to future sexual activity. The lawyers also argue that any statements Weinstein might have made were “privileged remarks.”
Judd’s lawyer, Ted Boutrous, issued a statement to Deadline that criticized Weinstein for attempting to avoid accountability for his actions.
“Mr. Weinstein’s arguments seeking to escape the consequences of his despicable misconduct are baseless,” Boutrous said. “We look forward to opposing his flawed motion, moving forward with discovery into his outrageous behavior, and proving to a jury that Mr. Weinstein maliciously damaged Ms. Judd’s career because she resisted his sexual advances.”