"By filing a lawsuit, Weinstein would essentially be putting his own personal life on trial," a prominent LA-based entertainment attorney tells TooFab.
Harvey Weinstein could start sliding down a slippery slope if he decides to sue The New York Times or The New Yorker for their respective exposés, which detailed multiple sexual misconduct allegations, including rape, against the Hollywood mogul.
TooFab spoke with Andrew B. Brettler, an attorney for LA-based entertainment law firm Lavely & Singer, who pointed out that a defamation case could expose Weinstein's personal life to even more scrutiny.
"Anyone can file a lawsuit. That said, there would be significant risks to Harvey if he sued the NYT or the New Yorker for defamation based on their respective reports about his alleged behavior," Brettler told TooFab. "Because truth is a defense in a defamation action, the publications would be permitted to take discovery from Weinstein about the sexual assault allegations to determine whether the reports were truthful and accurate."
"By filing a lawsuit, Weinstein would essentially be putting his own personal life on trial," he added. "He likely would have to answer questions under oath at a deposition about the claims that various women have made against him. Not sure whether he'll want to do that."
Weinstein threatened to sue The Times just a few days after the paper published its bombshell report. A statement from his former attorney Charles Harder -- who left the disgraced movie mogul's legal team last week, according to Variety -- said NYT's account "is saturated with false and defamatory statements about Harvey Weinstein."
"It relies on mostly hearsay accounts and a faulty report, apparently stolen from an employee personnel file, which has been debunked by 9 different eyewitnesses," Harder said. "We sent the Times the facts and evidence, but they ignored it and rushed to publish. We are preparing the lawsuit now. All proceeds will be donated to women's organizations."
Variety also reported Sunday that Weinstein's legal team has yet to file any such lawsuit.
Weinstein's lawyer previously denied the more severe allegations from multiple women in a statement reading: "Any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances."