Ambra Battilana Gutierrez
Why one of the first Weinstein accusers won't give up
05:18 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Seven Harvey Weinstein accusers wrote an open letter to New York Attorney General Letitia James asking her to reconsider supporting a proposed civil settlement of all “Weinstein related sexual harassment and sexual assault cases.”

“We have been told that your office supports the proposed civil settlement of all Weinstein-related sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. We ask you to reconsider,” the letter reads. The accusers have asked James to “closely examine” and “renegotiate the terms so that the victims’ fund adequately compensates victims and doesn’t fund the alleged wrongdoers’ defense.”

The disgraced movie mogul was convicted by a New York City jury on two counts – committing a criminal sex act in the first degree involving one woman and rape in the third degree involving another – in February.

While his charges relate to two women, more than 80 others have publicly accused Weinstein of wrongdoing ranging from unwanted advances to rape. Weinstein has repeatedly denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.

A spokesperson for the attorney general told CNN that she will continue to seek justice for the victims of Weinstein.

“Attorney General James has been steadfast in her pursuit of justice for victims,” the spokesperson said in a statement issued Monday. “Since the emergence of allegations in 2017, our office has sought to hold Harvey Weinstein accountable for his conduct against women. We remain keenly focused on providing these brave women with the justice they are owed and to fight for the best settlement that is possible in bankruptcy court.”

Harvey Weinstein was convicted of two counts in February.

A source with knowledge of a tentative deal confirmed to CNN in December that attorneys for some of the accusers had rejected it. That deal would have given $25 million to Weinstein’s accusers while not requiring him to admit wrongdoing or pay victims himself, The New York Times reported. It would have also given another $12 million to attorneys representing his alleged enablers, according to a statement issued last year by attorneys Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, who are representing some of the victims.

The accusers said in Monday’s letter that a proposed “settlement is insulting to all of the survivors in that it represents a small fraction of what should be paid by Mr. Weinstein, his former directors and officers, and large multi-billion dollar insurance companies.”

The proposed settlement would prevent the accusers from pursuing claims against the Weinstein Company’s insurers and other individuals who had knowledge of Weinstein’s actions but did nothing to stop them, the letter said.

Additionally, some class action attorneys who do not represent those involved in the letter, would receive large sums of money while the victims would only get only a small fraction under the terms of the settlement, according to the letter.

While recognizing that the settlement could benefit some victims, the letter goes on to say that it would be detrimental to victims who continue to seek relief from companies involved in the case.

“Survivors are being presented with a ‘choice’ of accepting an unfair settlement that is a fraction of what was originally discussed and for which the main wrongdoers are paying nothing, or proceed against a company that has been stripped of all assets and against our sexual assaulter, whose defense will be funded by the very agreement that would otherwise have been turned down,” the letter said. “There is nothing fair or just about this.”

CNN’s Lauren del Valle contributed to this report. Brian Vitagliano reported from New York. Hollie Silverman wrote in Atlanta.