Harvey Weinstein is being accused of violating federal sex trafficking laws in a new lawsuit filed by U.K. actress Kadian Noble.
According to the suit, which was obtained by Buzzfeed News, Noble alleges the disgraced film producer lured her to the French Rivera in 2014 with "the promise of a film role." The actress said Weinstein invited her to his hotel room in Cannes to review her movie reel and discuss her career. But shortly after Noble arrived, Weinstein allegedly began groping her and eventually trapped her in the bathroom, where he forced her to engage in sex acts.
"He informed her that she needed to relax, and if she did, his people would have all of her details and would ‘take care of everything’ for her," the suit reads.
The complaint also names Weinstein’s brother Bob and The Weinstein Company as defendants, saying they were complicit in the scheme and knew, or should’ve known, what his intentions were.
The actress said Weinstein put her on the phone with a TWC producer while she was in his hotel room. The TWC producer allegedly told Noble she needed to be "a good girl and do whatever [Weinstein] wished," and if she did so, "they would work" with her. Furthermore, the suit claims TWC employees used a code word for young women who participated in sex acts in exchange for a movie role. These women were allegedly referred to as a “FOH” or "Friend of Harvey’s."
"Harvey Weinstein was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity in his hotel room because of his promise to her of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf," the complaint read. "Harvey Weinstein traveled in foreign commerce, knowingly recruiting or enticing Kadian offering her something of value, knowing that he would use this offer as a means to defraud, force or coerce her into a sexual encounter. Harvey Weinstein ultimately forced Kadian into sexual acts."
Sexual assault claims must be filed within five to 10 years from the date of the incident, which is why many of Weinstein’s alleged victims have very little legal options; however, the statute of limitations for sex trafficking is 10 years, so it’s very possible more women will follow Noble’s lead and file similar lawsuits to get justice.
"The federal trafficking sex trafficking lawsuit is a very promising and novel legal theory because, at the end of the day, it may be a way to get around a statute of limitations that currently might bar a lot of lawsuits against Weinstein," criminal defense attorney Manny Medrano told BuzzFeed News. "It’s a way to bring back from the dead lawsuits that were simply barred by the statute of limitations. It’s good lawyering, good legal thinking out of the box."