An amended class action lawsuit brought against Harvey Weinstein by actresses who claim he sexually assaulted them is just an attempt to “grab more headlines” and should be thrown out, the disgraced movie mogul’s lawyers argue in new court papers.
In the papers filed late Monday, Weinstein’s lawyers claim the allegations made by 10 women — including actress and screenwriter Louisette Geiss — in the Manhattan federal suit still aren’t legally sound.
A judge in September had instructed the plaintiffs to refile the original racketeering suit with more details, after which they added several more plaintiffs — including an unnamed women who alleges Weinstein assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old virgin — new defendants, including Disney and its CEO Michael Eisner, and new allegations of sex trafficking.
“Sadly, Plaintiffs took the opportunity to replead to grab more headlines, but neglected to actually plead cognizable and timely claims,” the film tycoon’s attorneys write.
“Plaintiffs, while having succeeded at repleading with new headline grabbing allegations, have failed to cure the deficiencies in their claims.”
The sex trafficking charge, in particular, is just an end-run around claims that are outside the statute of limitations, and shouldn’t be entertained unless there’s proof “Weinstein somehow enslaved or trafficked Plaintiffs for commercial gain,” his lawyers argue.
“Critically, the [amended complaint] fails to allege that any money or anything of value was exchanged for the alleged sex act in these situations,” they write.
“To constitute a commercial sex act, the transaction must be economic in nature.”
The original racketeering claim — based on allegations of mail and wire fraud, witness or victim tampering and trafficking — also doesn’t stand up, they argue.
“Plaintiffs’ counsel’s creative lawyering and phrasing — the ‘Weinstein Sexual Enterprise’ — cannot transform several private intentional tort claims into a RICO enterprise,” they write.
“This Court gave Plaintiffs a second chance to plead a colorable RICO claim and they have again failed to do so. They should not be given a third chance.”
The plaintiffs’ legal team declined to comment.
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