Three woman have dismissed sex trafficking charges against imprisoned mogul Harvey Weinstein following the late January liquidation settlement in Delaware Bankruptcy Court between the former Weinstein Co. and creditors, including abuse victims of the one-time producer.
Plaintiffs Louisette Geiss, Sarah Ann Thomas and Melissa Thompson filed in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York to dismiss the trafficking suit without prejudice but retained the right to reinstate it within 125 days if the Sexual Misconduct Claims Fund agreed upon in the bankruptcy settlement does not pay out.
Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy over three years ago as its eponymous founder imploded in an ocean of abuse allegations. He was tried in New York, found guilty on multiple counts of rape and assault and is serving a 23-year prison sentence. A group of unsecured trade creditors and Weinstein victims had been debating the best plan to divide up what was left of the company’s assets — which basically amounted to settlement money offered by insurance companies for an agreement not to pursue claims.
The plan, approved by a large majority of merchants and victims, calls for $17 million to be set aside to settle sexual misconduct claims and $8.4 million for other bankruptcy claims. Under the agreement, the abuse victims cannot receive a full payout unless they release Harvey Weinstein and former officers and directors of his company, including brother Bob Weinstein, from all future legal claims – which would include the sex trafficking charges.
The women who are part of the suit do have the option of accepting a lower payout — 25% of what they’d be entitled to — in order to retain the right to go after Harvey in court, but no one else.
Under the plan, Harvey Weinstein waived 100% of claims for all of his legal defense costs. Other former officers and directors of the company waived 50% of of legal-cost claims they would technically have had the right to.
Weinstein faces 11 felony charges in Los Angeles, including for rape and sexual battery, pending an extradition that is now on hold.
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