A new New York law for individuals who were molested or sexually abused as children has resurrected an old claim again Harvey Weinstein in a new lawsuit. Former model Kaja Sokola on Thursday filed a sexual abuse suit against the Oscar-winning producer and named his brother, Bob Weinstein, their old company Miramax and that company’s old owners the Walt Disney Company as defendants as well.
“Instead of taking her to lunch, as promised, Harvey Weinstein took Sokola without her consent to his apartment, the New York Supreme Court filing details of Weinstein’s alleged assault of the then 16-year-old plaintiff in 2002, when Miramax was still a part of Disney. “He would not let her leave until after he terrified and sexually abused her,” states the suit (read it here) filed by attorneys Doug Wigdor and Kevin Mintzer seeking damages and a jury trial.
More from Deadline
- Silence Breakers Address Weinstein New York Post Interview, Refuse To Let Him 'Rewrite His Legacy Of Abuse'; Victims' Lawyer Responds
- 'Star Wars: Rise Of Skywalker' Feels The Force With $40M In Thursday Box Office
- ViacomCBS Taking 49% Stake In Miramax For $375M
“This traumatic day has been etched in Sokola’s mind every day thereafter, and it has caused her immense emotional pain and suffering, even seventeen years later and long after she gave up her dreams of acting or working in the entertainment industry.”
Previously a Jane Doe in the class action filed against Weinstein in late 2017, Sokola went public today in part to step outside the recently proposed and heavily criticized $25 million global settlement insurance companies for Weinstein, his sibling, their now-shuttered The Weinstein Company and its well-heeled board are seeking to finalize with dozen of victims. Calling the deal “appalling,” Wigdor and Mintzer have already said they will not participate in the settlement for their clients.
However, as the 67-year-old Weinstein prepares to go to trial next month on criminal rape charges that could see sent behind bars for life if found guilty, the Empire State’s relatively new Child’s Victims Act looks to have provided Sokola with a legal opening many other alleged Weinstein victims lack.
Passed early this year and with a one-year filing window for older cases, the act lifts the age lid on victims to 55, up from the previous 23. Actually, for the likes of Sokola, who filed within that one-year window, there is no age or time limit.
“Harvey Weinstein should never have been in a position to sexually abuse Sokola,” asserts the wide-ranging, 23-page filing. “In fact, Sokola only experienced this trauma because numerous individuals, including Robert Weinstein and other high level officers and directors of Miramax and Disney, affirmatively enabled Harvey Weinstein’s continuing sexual misconduct and looked the other way when they learned of repeated prior instances of Harvey Weinstein sexually harassing and sexually assaulting women he encountered in working for Miramax and Disney.”
Representatives for Weinstein, Disney and other defendants in the matter did not reply to request for comment. Yet, outside of her lawsuit, the plaintiff had more to say.
“I originally filed my case under a pseudonym as part of a class action against Harvey Weinstein, his companies, and associates,” said Sokola in a statement released by her lawyers Thursday. “But I cannot accept the proposed global settlement as fair or just,” she noted. “There is no accountability for the perpetrators, insufficient compensation for all of the victims, and millions of dollars going to people that I believe enabled Weinstein.
“I have long since moved on from modeling and, because of Harvey Weinstein, gave up on my dreams of acting,” Sokola continued. “I am grateful to do important work as a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. As part of my professional education and experience, I have learned that some wounds never fully heal. Memories of sexual abuse are like a scar after a burn, but because the injury is to the psyche, it is invisible to everyone except the victim. By revealing my own scar, I hope to encourage others to speak up about their own experiences.”
Ahead of the January 6, 2020 rape trial in lower Manhattan, today’s lawsuit follows an effort earlier this week from Weinstein’s defense team to hit the pause button on a on-, off- and on=-again legal action by AI International Holdings over a past $45 million loan to TWC. “Already encumbered with preparation for his impending criminal trial, coupled with the pain of orthopedic injuries causing significant ambulatory issues and requiring surgery, the weight is too much to bear all at once for Mr. Weinstein,” wrote Imran Ansari for her client to a New York Supreme Court judge.
No ruling has been issued yet in the AI Holdings case on whether Weinstein will get his temporary halt, which, according to Ansari, isn’t a problem for the plaintiff.
First arrested in late May 2018, Weinstein is facing multiple counts of predatory sexual assault, one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count each of first-degree rape and third-degree rape. Subject to travel restrictions reinforced last August 7, the 67-year-old producer is now out on a $5 million bail after first entering a not guilty plea on July 9 last year. Weinstein entered a plea of not guilty again on August 26 this year when a new indictment was added.
Accused by Ashley Judd in a now temporarily halted case and failing to get a sex-trafficking class action tossed out, Weinstein is also facing allegations from more than 60 women that he sexually assaulted or sexually harassed them – with a number of those women reluctantly participating in the floated $25 million settlement that is part of an overall $45 million deal. Weinstein is also still currently under investigation by federal prosecutors as well as probes by the Manhattan D.A.’s office, the NYPD, the LAPD and more globally.
Best of Deadline
- Stan Lee's Legacy: Ranking The Hollywood Heroes Co-Created By The Marvel Comics Icon
- Disney-Fox Deal: How It Ranks Among Biggest All-Time Media Mergers