Former Hollywood power-broker and disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein is reportedly desperately trying to add one or more female lawyers to his team, according to The Independent — and he’s said to be using the same type of tactics he used on up-and-coming female actors. Weinstein, who is preparing for the start of his June 3 sexual assault trial in New York, is reportedly seeking to hire female lawyers in order to “soften his image.” He is charged with raping one woman in 2013, and with performing a forcible sex act on another in 2006.
Hiring a woman to be on Weinstein’s team of attorneys is perhaps not a surprising legal ploy, given the notoriety of the cases involving the former head of Miramax and later The Weinstein Company. But what some observers find particularly odious about the latest report is that Weinstein is allegedly attempting to use the same gambit to get a female attorney to sign on as he used to try to get young, untested actresses to sign on to be in the films he produced.
“Harvey does not want to pay premium fees,” said an anonymous source. “His arguments to women lawyers are like the ones he used on young actresses who felt underpaid: It will be good for your career to be on my team for the notoriety and fame.”
Indeed, it does appear that Weinstein is pursuing a female lawyer, and that he may be growing increasingly desperate to get a “yes,” even to the point of hiring a woman who hasn’t racked up a whole lot of courtroom experience or wins. Last month Weinstein was reported to have hired Pamela Mackey, a powerhouse attorney who was on the team that successfully defended Kobe Bryant against rape charges. The intention was that Mackey would join Weinstein’s previously hired duo of lawyers, Jose Baez and Ronald S. Sullivan Jr. They were hired to be the nexus of a “dream team” after Weinstein’s first lawyer, Ben Brafman, quit last month.
However, Mackey didn’t last long. She and Weinstein reportedly had a falling out over her fee, and she quit shortly after having been hired. At least two other top-notch female lawyers are reported to have turned down Weinstein’s case.
A spokesman for Weinstein said that he does, in fact, have two female attorneys on his team. They happen to work for Baez’s firm.
The claims against Weinstein — which helped jump-start the #MeToo movement and date back nearly 30 years — include rape, sexual harassment, and unwanted physical contact.