Harvey Weinstein Can Use Women's Emails to Defeat ‘Cosby Motion’

(Bloomberg) -- Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood power broker whose company went bankrupt after he was accused of sexual misconduct, can use emails from women he allegedly abused to defend himself in the criminal case against him, a federal judge ruled Monday.

Weinstein’s lawyers say they want to use the emails to show that many of his accusers continued to have friendly correspondence with him. In addition to the criminal charges, Weinstein faces civil lawsuits from multiple women who claim he coerced them into having sex with him.

He’s trying to have the charges against him thrown out, or, failing that, to block New York prosecutors from introducing evidence of prior bad acts against women, a tactic the authorities employed in the conviction of comedian Bill Cosby.

“They are going to mount what has essentially come to be called a ‘Bill Cosby motion,’ ” Weinstein lawyer Benjamin Brafman said during a court telephone conference.

Weinstein must redact the names of the women from the emails if he uses them in the New York case, which accuses him of criminal sexual misconduct, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath said. The movie company Weinstein co-founded, Weinstein Co., filed bankruptcy earlier this year after being hobbled by more than 80 sexual harassment claims. Walrath is overseeing the process and has authority to decide how the emails, which involve the Weinstein Co.’s former corporate messaging accounts, can be used.

The company was sold in bankruptcy to Lantern Entertainment with much of the money raised by the deal set aside to pay claims related to the harassment allegations. Walrath is supervising the division of proceeds from that sale in bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Cosby lawyer Brian W. Perry did not return a call seeking comment.

The case is The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, 18-10601, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington)

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