McGowan was one of the first people to go public with allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein in late 2016 and 2017, triggering an avalanche of similar allegations that sparked the #MeToo movement and landed the former producer in prison.
In October 2019, McGowan filed a RICO lawsuit against Weinstein and attorneys David Boies and Lisa Bloom, arguing that they had orchestrated an elaborate scheme to spy on her and prevent her from coming forward. Judge Otis D. Wright dismissed most of her claims in December 2020, though he allowed her to proceed with two fraud claims and also granted her an opportunity to amend the RICO allegations.
But after McGowan’s attorneys amended the complaint, Wright ruled again on Nov. 9 that the allegations did not rise to the level of racketeering activity.
“Defendants’ effort to silence McGowan was a single, unified project with an end goal and an end date,” Wright held. “Thus, it is not the sort of continuous effort that is prohibited by RICO.”
He dismissed the RICO counts again, and asked for further briefing from McGowan on whether the remaining state charges could be handled in federal court, or whether they, too, should be thrown out and refiled in state court.
On the eve of the Nov. 24 filing deadline, McGowan’s lead attorney, Julie Porter, informed the court that she was withdrawing from the case. In a declaration, Porter said that McGowan had fired her over Zoom.
“I have diligently endeavored to communicate with Plaintiff about the Court’s questions. Plaintiff did not authorize me to take any positions on the questions the Court posed,” Porter said in the declaration. “On November 23, 2021, Plaintiff communicated to me during a Zoom meeting that she was terminating the attorney-client relationship, effectively immediately, and that Plaintiff no longer authorizes me or the other lawyers on our team to represent her. Plaintiff was very clear that she was terminating the representation.”
Wright then allowed McGowan to represent herself, and gave her a new deadline of Dec. 3 to file the brief. McGowan did not file the brief, and so Wright has now dismissed the case in its entirety. McGowan will still have the opportunity to pursue her state-law claims in state court.