Washington: One thing at a time. A California federal judge ruled, on Tuesday, that Harvey Weinstein doesn’t have to continue fighting the defamation lawsuit filed against him by American actor and political activist Ashley Judd, until after his criminal sexual assault trial.
In April 2018, the actor filed a lawsuit against the producer claiming he sexually harassed her and alleged that he had ruined her career by asking director Peter Jackson not to cast her in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ in 1998.
However, U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez, in September, dismissed Judd’s sexual harassment accusation against the producer, finding that it would be unprecedented to apply the law or ruling to a prospective employer. However, he allowed her defamation claim to move forward.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, in January, Weinstein asked Gutierrez to stay the suit, arguing that he needed to preserve his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in the criminal matter and as a result couldn’t effectively defend himself against the actor.
On Tuesday, the Judge granted the motion, stating that while the nature of Judd’s suit and the criminal case are “quite different,” there’s a reason to suspect they may intersect.
The 50-year-old actor was one of the firsts to raise voice against Weinstein. She told the New York Times that the director had invited her to a hotel room in late 1996 or early 1997, and tried to massage her. He even asked her to watch him take a shower, but she refused to do so and walked out.
Judd had revealed that she wanted to work in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ but she did not get the opportunity. After the scandal, Peter Jackson had said in an interview that Weinstein’s film company Miramax had discouraged him from casting Judd and another actor Mira Sorvino, describing them as a “nightmare to work with.”
Judd had also revealed that she only had a two-day role in the 1995 Miramax film titled ‘Smoke’ which went positive and she had no interaction with Weinstein during that time, and that’s why Weinstein’s comments were defamatory and demeaning.
However, Weinstein’s lawyers argued that the allegations did not rise to the level of sexual assault and that the entire suit against him should be thrown out due to the statute of limitations. They also added that the producer had tried casting Judd in other roles, proving that he did not want to harm her career.
More than 80 women, including the actresses Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Rose McGowan have opened about similar stories against Weinstein. Some accused him of using physical force to compel them to have sex, while others said he tried to exchange parts in movies for sex or threatened to ruin their careers if they did not fulfill his demands.