On Monday a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge confirmed a Weinstein Co. liquidation which will set aside more than $17 million for victims of Harvey Weinstein's sexual misconduct. The ruling comes almost three years after the company, which was co-founded by the currently imprisoned Weinstein, declared for bankruptcy.
According to Variety, the plan will also give $9.7 million to former officers and directors for that company, which will allow them to pay down some of the legal bills they've accrued over the past several years. That group will also be given releases that will clear them from having to face any liability over enabling the conduct of Harvey.
The plan was approved after a hearing in Delaware, with Judge Mary Walrath reasoning that, without the settlement, the victims would receive "minimal, if any, recovery."
This represents the latest in a line of legal troubles for the Weinstein Co., which was an independent studio founded by Harvey and his brother, Bob, back in 2005. To put together the timeline, the company released Harvey in October 2017 after more than 100 women came forward with allegations against the disgraced producer that included: sexual harassment, assault, and rape. The company ended up declaring bankruptcy in February 2018, and was defunct by August of the same year.
The $17+ million agreement is part of a larger $35 million payout that is the responsibility of several insurance carriers, with Variety noting that those insurance companies are also on the hook to pay back "the Weinstein Co.'s trade creditors."
As for the victims' fund, the $17 million will be divided up amongst more than 50 claimants, with those who'd aired the most serious allegations getting payouts of $500,000 or more. Out of the 47 victims who chose to vote on the settlement, 39 were reportedly in agreement, while eight voted against it.
Ruby Liu, an attorney who represented those eight voting against, contended that the settlement fund was "meager," and that it kills any chance of pursuing people like Bob Weinstein, as well as other ex-directors for the company, in court.
In opposition to that, Paul Zumbro, an attorney representing the estate of the Weinstein Co., argued the deal was the best available since insurance companies wouldn't have agreed to payouts if the directors and officers weren't released.
A previous version of the settlement had victims on the receiving end of a $24.3 million payout. That deal would've included women who say they were abused by Harvey before 2005, dubbed the "Miramax" era, but that deal was rejected by a different judge who said it wasn't viable. A revised settlement later excluded Miramax, as well as Disney and their insurers.
Monday's news could also represent another legal headache for Harvey Weinstein (we should note that he still has plenty of those). We say that because civil claimants will still be allowed to pursue him in civil court, though that may not happen because most attorneys don't think he has any assets to be taken at this point.
Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence following convictions for raping an actress and sexually assaulting a former production assistant.