Harvey Weinstein and accusers reach tentative £35 million compensation deal

Our Foreign Staff
Film producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 80 women  - REUTERS

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein has reportedly reached a provisional $44 million (£35m) settlement with alleged sexual assault victims and creditors.

The deal, which has not yet been signed, aims to cover all civil proceedings filed against the fallen Hollywood mogul, including those in Canada and the United Kingdom, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Weinstein's spokesperson denied to comment.

The settlement does not exempt Weinstein from the criminal proceedings brought against him for sexual assault, for which he will go on trial in September. Weinstein denies all allegations of nonconsensual sex.

Lawyers involved in the negotiations told a federal bankruptcy court judge during a hearing in Wilmington, Delaware, on Thursday that a breakthrough in a still-unfinished mediation had put a settlement within reach, the Associated Press reported.

"We now have an economic agreement in principal that is supported by the plaintiffs, the (New York attorney general's) office, the defendants and all of the insurers that, if approved, would provide significant compensation to victims, creditors and the estate and allow the parties to avoid years of costly, time consuming and uncertain litigation on all sides," Adam Harris, a lawyer for studio co-founder Bob Weinstein, told the judge.

He cautioned that there was still "a lot of work here to do."

"But," he added, "I personally am very optimistic."

Weinstein - a catalyst for the #MeToo anti-harassment movement - has been charged over the alleged assaults of two women and faces life in prison if he is convicted at the trial, which could last five weeks.

In addition to the alleged victims and creditors, the settlement covers the proceedings started by former New York state attorney general Eric Schneiderman, who has been succeeded by Letitia James.

The proceedings aim specifically to guarantee the alleged victims will be compensated.

James's spokesperson also declined to comment.

The settlement amount will be paid out by insurance agencies, the Journal reported, several of which count The Weinstein Company, the production company Weinstein co-founded, among their clients.

Since October 2017, Weinstein - one of the most powerful men in Hollywood before a cascade of sexual misconduct allegations precipitated his downfall - has been accused of sexual harassment and assault by more than 80 women.

Among his accusers are prominent actresses such as Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek.

As the accusations against Weinstein mounted, his company Weinstein Co fired him and filed for bankruptcy, and he was expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Mr Harris said the settlement was complex due to the number of claims, and insurance companies, involved.

"We're dealing with potential claims here that go back more than 25 years," he said, adding that the nature of the allegations had also made for "a highly charged environment, with very strong feelings on all sides."