Harvey Weinstein won a victory in civil court on Thursday, as a federal judge dismissed a racketeering lawsuit brought by six alleged harassment victims.
In a brief order, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein dismissed the complaint, but allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended version by Oct. 31.
The plaintiffs allege that Weinstein; his brother, Bob; and board members of the Weinstein Co. acted in concert to enable and then conceal Weinstein’s sexual misconduct. They allege that the Weinstein Co. functioned akin to a mafia enterprise, in violation of federal RICO law, and are seeking to represent hundreds of victims in a class action.
In court on Wednesday, Hellerstein expressed some skepticism about the claims, and pushed the plaintiffs to include more details of the alleged cover-up in the amended filing. But he also pushed back on Weinstein’s attorneys’ argument that he did not engage in commercial sex trafficking, according to a Bloomberg report.
“We all know what was going on,” Hellerstein said, according to Bloomberg. “He was not attractive in such a way that Paul Newman was attractive. He wanted sex.”
Phyllis Kupferstein, Weinstein’s civil lawyer, hailed the judge’s decision.
“We are very pleased that this claim was dismissed,” she said. “It was the correct result. In the current environment, it is reassuring to know that the rule of law prevails.”
Elizabeth Fegan, the lead plaintiffs’ attorney, had a more optimistic take on the ruling.
“We heard the Court’s request that we provide additional details regarding the career damage suffered by victims and other technical areas,” she said in a statement. “We look forward to amending the Complaint and are confident the victims’ claims will continue to move forward.”
Weinstein is also facing numerous other lawsuits and six criminal charges, which could result in a sentence of life in prison.