NEW YORK (AP) — Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers sought Friday to toss out the sex trafficking claims of an actress the disgraced movie-making mogul maintains is trying to capitalize on the legal success of other women.
The lawyers filed papers in Manhattan federal court to try to persuade a judge to reject Wedil David’s trafficking claims.
David’s lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles in 2017 and moved to New York, said Weinstein raped her in late 2015 after using the promise of a role in a television series, “Marco Polo,” to lure her to a Beverly Hills hotel.
According to the lawsuit, David met Weinstein at a 2011 party, and he offered to assist her acting career. It said he invited her to awards show parties for several years afterward.
The latest Weinstein filing in the lawsuit asks a judge to reject her sex trafficking claims, which followed similar claims made by women that other judges have approved. Weinstein is appealing those rulings.
The lawyers urged a judge to stop “the further improper expansion of the laws against human trafficking.”
They argued that the sex trafficking act was established to criminalize slavery, involuntary servitude and human trafficking for commercial gain.
“Attempting to apply the Act to this case is an utter perversion of the legislative intent behind the statute,” they wrote. “There are no allegations of slavery, involuntary servitude, or human trafficking in the instant case.”
They said Weinstein denies even meeting David. Weinstein has denied sexually assaulting any of the women who have made claims against him. Any sex that occurred, his representatives have asserted, was consensual.
The lawyers said David was trying to “draw further headlines and get her case in the public eye by adding a Sex Trafficking claim for no other reason than because other plaintiffs are doing it too.”
Douglas H. Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer, lawyers for David, did not immediately comment Friday after Weinstein’s lawyers filed their papers.
Wigdor and Mintzer issued a statement last month to say David “steadfastly rejected” a proposed $44 million deal designed to resolve over 15 lawsuits brought by multiple women against Weinstein.
The lawyers said the proposed settlement would let Weinstein and the men who enabled him escape liability and accountability without contributing any money to the deal themselves.
“Our client does not begrudge any victim who accepts a settlement that she finds acceptable. But she will not participate in a process that is fundamentally flawed and unfair,” they said.
The Associated Press does not usually identify people alleging sexual assault, but David has spoken publicly about her claims.