“I don’t think there’s a markedly better deal to be made,” Ms. Harrison said. “We have really, truly done the best we can under the circumstances, and it’s important for other victims to know this, come forward and be able to get the best level of compensation we were able to get.”
The settlement would resolve lawsuits filed by dozens of women since 2017, when The New York Times exposed allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by Mr. Weinstein. Although the producer’s accusers include some of the highest-profile women in the entertainment world, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, none have joined the proceedings. A lawsuit by the actress Ashley Judd, who has said she intends to take Mr. Weinstein to trial, would not be part of the deal.
The process has been long and complicated, involving lawyers for the women, Mr. Weinstein, his former board members, creditors, insurers and the New York attorney general’s office. Last year, when the Weinstein Company entered bankruptcy, the accusers watched a potential settlement payout dwindle from a projected $90 million victims’ fund that had been discussed as part of a possible sale of the studio. Then Eric T. Schneiderman, who as state attorney general had sued the studio and the Weinstein brothers and was steering settlement talks, resigned amid allegations that he had abused women.
Even if the proposed deal goes through, its terms would come with uncertainty. Eighteen of the alleged victims would split $6.2 million, with no individual getting more than $500,000. A separate pot of money, $18.5 million, would be set aside for those who were part of a class-action case, the New York attorney general’s suit and any future claimants, with a court-appointed monitor allocating payments based on the severity of the harm alleged.
Two women who have brought civil suits against Mr. Weinstein — Alexandra Canosa, a producer who used to work for him, and Wedil David, an actress — have walked away from the tentative deal and intend to challenge it, according to their lawyers. Douglas Wigdor, who represents Ms. David, said such an agreement would box the women in by setting aside $1 million to help Mr. Weinstein resolve their cases, and precluding them from pursuing board members or the insurance companies.
“What’s most offensive is that they’re trying to force our client to settle,” Mr. Wigdor said.
Now that most of the participants have agreed to go forward, the lawyers can work to turn the preliminary term sheet into an official settlement agreement — a longer, more detailed document that will require approval from at least two judges, one from the federal court in Delaware overseeing the Weinstein Company’s bankruptcy and the other from a federal court in New York. But it could still fall apart because of objections by lawyers representing the dissenting women.
The narrow scope of Mr. Weinstein’s upcoming criminal trial only heightens the significance of the civil settlement, likely to be the only legal recourse for many of the women who said he abused them. Because some alleged victims have declined to participate in a criminal trial, or have complained of offenses that are not criminal or fall outside the statute of limitations, the court case in New York centers on just two people.
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