Weinstein Judge Tells Women to Refile Racketeering Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- Harvey Weinstein’s former company urged a U.S. judge to throw out a racketeering lawsuit filed by six women who claim it helped hide the film producer’s sexual misconduct.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan seemed skeptical of some parts of the racketeering claim, such as accusations that company executives tampered with witnesses by preventing them from reporting Weinstein’s behavior. The judge told the women’s lawyers to refile the lawsuit with more specific allegations by the end of October.

But the judge also questioned the defendants’ claim that the suit should be thrown out because they didn’t engage in sex trafficking, as alleged by the women, because at no time was sex traded for anything of value. Hellerstein noted Weinstein is accused of having swapped film roles for sex.

"We all know what was going on," Hellerstein said. "He was not attractive in such a way that Paul Newman was attractive. He wanted sex."

Weinstein, who denies wrongdoing, was ousted last year from the company he founded. He was charged with sexual assault by prosecutors in Manhattan and is awaiting trial. The Weinstein Co. filed for bankruptcy in March and was sold in May.

Since the claims against Weinstein became public numerous powerful men in entertainment, media and politics have been brought down by similar accusations. The rise of people coming forward with stories of harassment and assaults prompted Time magazine to deem them its Person of the Year.

The case is Geiss v. Weinstein Co. Holdings LLC, 17-cv-9554, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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