A representative for actress Ashley Judd, one of Harvey Weinstein’s first public accusers, has released a court filing in response to Weinstein’s recent attempt to dismiss her defamation lawsuit against him, calling the plea a “baseless and offensive study in misdirection.”
“Harvey Weinstein’s motion to dismiss is a baseless and offensive study in misdirection that demonstrates his malicious and reckless disregard for the law and for Ms. Judd’s rights to be free from sexual harassment and retaliation,” said Gibson Dunn litigator Ted Boutrous on Judd’s behalf. “It ignores and misstates key allegations in the complaint, impermissibly cites (contradictory) extrinsic evidence, and relies heavily on cases interpreting a statute that has nothing to do with this case. Weinstein also makes the bizarre argument that he purportedly sought to advance Ms. Judd’s career as part of a ‘deal’ for sex that Weinstein presents as real — rather than the decidedly ‘mock bargain’ Ms. Judd alleges she made in her complaint. He even claims that Ms. Judd was no ‘ingénue in the film business when she went to Weinstein’s hotel room,’ saying that she was ‘well-versed in the entertainment industry’ and suggesting that she should have known that a purported business meeting with Weinstein really was a ‘casting couch’ invitation. To state the obvious: conditioning career advancement on sex is textbook harassment.”
Judd filed suit in April, accusing Weinstein of retaliating against her after she allegedly refused his sexual advances in a hotel room. Judd alleges that Weinstein harmed her acting career and smeared her reputation to director Peter Jackson, preventing him from casting her in “The Lord of the Rings.”
In July, Weinstein appealed to the court to dismiss Judd’s lawsuit against him. Weinstein’s motion to dismiss Judd’s charges claims that Judd agreed to permit Weinstein to “touch her” in exchange for an Academy Award for one of his projects. Judd’s rep has dismissed these claims as “bizarre” and accused the disgraced mogul of relying on the statute of limitations, reflecting his “malicious and reckless disregard for the law.”
“Regardless, the factual question can be resolved squarely in Ms. Judd’s favor,” the filing continues. “While Ms. Judd was all too aware of Weinstein’s harassing conduct towards her in the late 1990s at the Peninsula Hotel, what she did not know until December 2017 was that Weinstein secretly retaliated against her. That realization did not happen, and could not have happened, until Peter Jackson disclosed that Weinstein smeared Ms. Judd’s professional reputation and poisoned her chances of working with Mr. Jackson and Fran Walsh on the wildly successful ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy and their future films.”
Last week, Weinstein’s attorneys also filed a motion to dismiss his July sex crimes indictment, which found him guilty of one additional count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, and two counts of predatory sexual assault. The motion cited email exchanges between Weinstein and one of his alleged rape victims, which were not included in the initial trial process.