April 20, 2018 / 10:07 PM / 3 months ago

Harvey Weinstein goes to court to retrieve personal emails

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Movie producer Harvey Weinstein asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge on Friday to order his company, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in March, to turn over personal emails that he says are relevant to ongoing civil and criminal investigations against him.

FILE PHOTO: Producer Harvey Weinstein speaks at the ceremony for the unveiling of the star for Italian composer Ennio Morricone on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Hollywood, California February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Harvey Weinstein, who co-founded the Weinstein Company with his brother Bob, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women. He has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

In a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers said the bankrupt company has refused to provide him access to e-mails and personal files that they said would exonerate him.

Harvey Weinstein, once one of Hollywood’s most influential film producers, was ousted as co-chairman of the Weinstein Company in October 2017 when accusations against him became public.

“(The Weinstein Company’s) continued refusal to permit Mr. Weinstein to access these emails has significantly impinged his ability to effectively defend himself from these allegations and is a continuing deprivation of his due process rights,” his attorneys wrote in the filing.

Harvey Weinstein is the target of federal and state criminal investigations in at least four different jurisdictions, including New York, Los Angeles, and London, which have requested documentation relating to their cases, according to the filing.

By cooperating with the authorities and sharing emails that Harvey Weinstein sent and received, his attorneys said they are “confident that any and all investigations can and will be brought to a favorable conclusion.”

The Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy after it spent months looking for a buyer or investor. Texas private equity firm Lantern Capital agreed to buy the company out of bankruptcy for $310 million, setting the floor for other bidders in a court-supervised auction scheduled for May 4.

While the film studio has produced and distributed critically acclaimed movies as “The King’s Speech”, as well as the televised fashion competition “Project Runway,” the entertainment industry distanced itself from the studio after the accusations against Harvey Weinstein rocked Hollywood.

The women who spoke out against Weinstein spurred a national movement against sexual harassment, with victims sharing their stories on social media and labeling them under the hashtag #MeToo.

Reporting by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Noeleen Walder

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