Women who sued Harvey Weinstein for sexual misconduct settle for nearly $19 million

The settlement, which would create a victims' fund for women who say they were abused by Weinstein, still needs approval in federal district court.

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By Tim Stelloh, Adam Reiss and Diana Dasrath

Nine women who sued convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein reached a nearly $19 million settlement Tuesday in the lawsuit that alleged that the disgraced movie mogul was a serial sexual harasser and abuser, their attorneys and officials said.

The settlement, which would create a victims' fund for women who say they were abused by Weinstein, still needs approval in U.S. District Court in New York City, according to a statement from the law firms FeganScott LLP and Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP.

The suit, filed in November 2017, also accuses former officers and directors of The Weinstein Company of failing to prevent his misconduct.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said an agreement would resolve a suit her office filed two years ago alleging that Weinstein, his younger brother, Robert, and their company maintained a hostile work environment.

Caitlin Dulany, one of nine plaintiffs in the suit, said in a statement provided by James' office: "We fought a long and grueling battle in the courtroom. Harvey avoided accountability for decades, and it was a powerful moment for us to band together and demand justice."

Lawyers for six other women who have also accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct called the settlement a "complete sellout," saying in a statement that it doesn't hold Weinstein or people who knew about allegations of misconduct accountable.

"We are completely astounded that the Attorney General is taking a victory lap for this unfair and inequitable proposal, and on behalf of our clients, we will be vigorously objecting in court," said the lawyers for those women, Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer.

The terms of the settlement would allow victims to submit confidential claims describing their experiences and the impact of the misconduct. Payments for damages might range from $7,500 to $750,000.

An attorney for Weinstein, who still faces sex crimes charges in connection with three separate incidents alleged to have occurred in Los Angeles, said he was focused on defending himself in outstanding legal matters.

"With closure in sight on one front, Mr. Weinstein remains intently focused in defending himself on all remaining legal matters, including the appeal of his criminal conviction, civil lawsuits, and the charges filed against him in L.A.," the lawyer, Imran Ansari, said in a statement Tuesday night. "He continues to pursue all legal recourse available to him and remains steadfast in the defense of those matters."

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The announcement came roughly three months after Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison for raping Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress, and one count of engaging in a criminal sexual act against Mimi Haley, a former "Project Runway" production assistant.

Weinstein is serving his sentence at a maximum-security prison in upstate New York.