Harvey Weinstein is trying to wrangle his way out of a lawsuit brought by actress Ashley Judd.
Attorneys for the disgraced producer say Judd’s claims that Weinstein tried to damage her career after rejecting him are ‘baseless’ and filed long after the misdeeds allegedly took place.
The New York Times writes that lawyers looked into Judd’s filing, which was placed with a federal court in Los Angeles. The actress says she told Weinstein he could touch her only after she won an Academy Award in one of his films.
But that agreement, says Judd, amounted to little more than a “mock bargain.” She claims anything she said to Weinstein was only meant to take her safely from the man’s hotel room after he’d asked if he could give her a massage or watch her shower.
For the past 22 years, says Judd, Weinstein’s “lorded” the comment over her. Now it’s being used by Weinstein’s attorneys to demonstrate that the producer still intended to cast Judd in his films.
“According to plaintiff, Weinstein then attempted to live up to his part of the bargain by trying to cast plaintiff in as many roles as possible that could earn her an Academy Award,” states the filing.
They cite Weinstein’s attempts to have Judd cast as the female lead in “Good Will Hunting” as evidence of his motivation to advance her career rather than ruin it.
The Times summary of the filing makes mention of another argument: that even if Weinstein did sexually harass Judd, his behaviors fell short of being “unwelcome and pervasive or severe.” In order for Judd’s claims to hold legal merit, Weinstein’s actions would have to be construed as predatory.
Judd’s attorney, Theodore Boutrous Jr, said, “Mr. Weinstein’s arguments seeking to escape the consequences of his despicable misconduct are not only baseless, they are offensive.
“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,” Boutrous said.
Boutrous and Judd both say that Weinstein intentionally “torpedoed” the actress’s efforts to land a place in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.
Nevertheless, Weinstein’s attorneys have held that the two had no professional relationship at the time. And, because the incident occurred over 20 years ago, it’s outside the statute of limitations on sexual harassment.
“Her failure to file a timely complaint is due to her own lack of reasonable diligence and not any affirmative misconduct on Weinstein’s part,” claims the filing.