AceShowbiz - Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has lost his bid to put a class action lawsuit on hold until after his criminal trial.
The producer and his former business partners were slapped with a class action lawsuit from 10 women, who accused them of racketeering in December, 2017. The women claimed Weinstein resorted to criminal means in an effort to cover up his alleged sexual misconduct and assault, and board members at his former companies, Miramax and The Weinstein Company, conspired to help him.
In November (2018), Weinstein's lawyer requested the case be postponed or he would have to invoke his 5th Amendment right to avoid self incrimination at trial. The 66-year-old, who was exposed as an alleged sexual predator in 2017, stands accused of raping an unidentified woman in his hotel room in 2013 and forcing another into a sex act in 2006. Weinstein has denied all accusations of non-consensual sex and pleaded not guilty to the criminal counts.
On Tuesday, January 22, Judge Alvin Hellerstein denied the motion because the civil case is not in the discovery phase yet, but Weinstein is reportedly planning to file for another dismissal. The lawsuit was dismissed last year, but Judge Hellerstein allowed the plaintiffs to file an amended suit.
"Judge Hellerstein stated to Mr. Weinstein's counsel that the motion for stay was premature in light of the pending motions to dismiss the Amended Complaint," attorney Elior Shiloh tells Variety. "Judge Hellerstein asked Mr. Weinstein's counsel to file any motion to dismiss by January 28. While the motion is marked denied, the Judge did not actually rule on the merits of the motion to stay. It was clear that Judge Hellerstein was not willing to get into the merits of a stay as the case is only at the pleading stage and could very well be dismissed in the coming months."
A hearing on the planned motion to dismiss is scheduled for March 7, the same day the producer has been scheduled to appear for his criminal trial.
Meanwhile, Weinstein has hired Jose Baez, Ron Sullivan, and Pam Mackey to replace his former criminal defence attorney Benjamin Brafman, who left his legal team earlier this month.