Movie producer Harvey Weinstein must face a U.S. lawsuit by a British actress who has accused him of violating sex trafficking laws by inviting her to a hotel room in France and sexually assaulting her, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet in Manhattan denied Weinstein’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last year by Kadian Noble. The judge said that while the case was “not an archetypal sex trafficking action, the allegations plausibly establish” that Weinstein may have violated the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Weinstein, said in a statement that her client would seek to appeal the decision.
“We believe these claims are not legally or factually supported, and ultimately will not be sustained,” she said.
A lawyer for Noble could not immediately be reached for comment.
Noble is one of more than 70 women, mostly young actresses and other women employed in the movie business, who have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, including rape, in a series of incidents dating back decades.
Weinstein, who was one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood before the accusations surfaced in October, is separately facing criminal rape and sexual assault charges in Manhattan state court over allegations by three other women. He has denied ever having non-consensual sex.
According to Noble’s lawsuit, Weinstein “was able to force or coerce Kadian into sexual activity in his hotel room because of his promise to her of a film role and use of his influence on her behalf” in Cannes, France, in 2014.
Weinstein’s lawyers had argued that the case must be dismissed because the sex trafficking law was meant to cover “commercial” sex acts, which would not include the alleged encounter because Noble was given nothing of value.
They said in a court filing allowing the case to continue would mean that the law would cover “all sexual activity occurring between adults in which one party holds a superior position of power and influence.”
Sweet said in Tuesday’s opinion that Weinstein’s promises were valuable to Noble and that his argument “does not reflect modern reality.”
The accusations against Weinstein sparked the #MeToo social media movement that has seen hundreds of women publicly accuse powerful men in business, politics and entertainment of sexual harassment and abuse.
After Weinstein was accused, his eponymous company Weinstein Co fired him and filed for bankruptcy.
Reporting By Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bill Trott and David Gregorio
George Conway annihilates Trump’s claim that Twitter censors him
On Wednesday, following Trump's virtually incomprehensible rant on Fox Business about how Twitter is secretly stifling his content, conservative lawyer George Conway posted a scathing rebuke of his behavior:
George Conway, the husband of Trump's former campaign manager and counselor Kellyanne Conway, has been a frequent and vocal critic of the president's behavior.
Republicans have increasingly scapegoated an imagined political conspiracy of social media companies for every problem that they have online, claiming that there is a plot to censor or "shadow ban" conservative content.
This is how Florida Republicans plan to hand the election to Trump in 2020
In 2018, voters in Florida passed Amendment 4, restoring voting rights to ex-felons. The measure passed 65 to 35 percent.
Now, Florida Governor and major Trump ally Ron DeSantis is expected to blunt the impact of the measure by approving a bill that would require ex-felons to have paid off all fees connected to their sentence before voting. That means Donald Trump might get a major boost in 2020, reports the Daily Beast.
SB 7066 requires ex-felons to pay off all financial obligations from their sentencing or get them excused by a judge.
Dear NeverTrumpers: Please quit lecturing actual Democrats about how to win
As I write this, we are just hours away from the first debate of the presidential primary season. It's hard to believe that four years have passed since the last round of primary debates. It feels like 40. But here we are, getting ready to embark on yet another presidential campaign featuring Donald Trump. Everyone on the planet has advice for the Democratic candidates about what they need to do to beat him. It may be the most annoying conversation in all of politics, and that's saying something.
The pundits are all dully blathering on about "lanes" again, extending the horse race metaphor to ridiculous lengths, as they did in the GOP primaries in 2016. So far they've declared the lanes to be "establishment," "insurgent," "youth," "black vote" and "working class." And yes, they are meaningless, since the person who wins the nomination will have to take up big parts of all these "lanes" and more. But it makes it easy for pundits and analysts to drone on endlessly about polling, despite the fact that there is very little chance this campaign will end up going the way they predict.