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Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein leaves State Supreme Court in Manhattan with his new team of lawyers in New York on January 25, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP/Getty Images)

Alleged coercion

Judge: Sex trafficking law can be used against Harvey Weinstein

By WITW Staff on January 29, 2019

A second judge has ruled that a human trafficking law can be used in a civil suit against Harvey Weinstein.

U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer made the ruling in Manhattan on Monday, allowing  producer Alexandra Canosa to proceed with a lawsuit against Weinstein and two of his companies.

Engelmayer said the argument made by Weinstein’s companies, that the sex trafficking law was inappropriate to the allegations made by Canosa, was “wholly unpersuasive.”

Canosa has alleged that, on multiple occasions between 2010 and 2017, Weinstein raped, sexually abused, intimidated and harassed her during what he maintained were business meetings across three continents.

Engelmayer said Carnosa had “plausibly alleged” that Weinstein forced her into commercial sex acts and assaulted and harassed her numerous times. Her lawsuit alleged that she expected and received career advances after coerced sexual activity.

She has also claimed that Weinstein threatened her with losing her job and blackballing her in the entertainment industry if she rejected his sexual advances.

The judge allowed the director’s brother Robert Weinstein, as well as directors of their company’s board out of the suit because Canosa’s claims that they fueled Harvey’s behavior weren’t made with “adequate specificity,” but kept the defunct Weinstein Company in the case, writing that the firm “enabled and concealed Weinstein’s predations as a means of keeping him happy, productive and employable.”

Canosa’s lawyer, Thomas Giuffra, said, “It is important that the corporate culture that empowered and turned a blind eye to this conduct be held accountable in a court as well as the abuser.”

Weinstein’s lawyer Elior Shiloh said the judge erred in letting the human trafficking claim proceed and defense lawyers believe they will defeat the claim throughout the course of the case.

Read the full story at Time and Page Six.


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