Harvey and Bob Weinstein Sued for Alleged 'Sex Trafficking' in Cannes — What This Means
Aspiring actress Kadian Noble claims Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2014
Kadian Noble, who claims Weinstein sexually assaulted her in 2014, is suing him, his brother Bob and their company, The Weinstein Company (TWC), under federal sex trafficking laws.
A spokesperson for Weinstein repeated their previous statement to PEOPLE that “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.”
According to the lawsuit, Weinstein “recruited and enticed” Noble with the “promise of a film role, knowing that he would use means of force, fraud or coercion to cause her to engage in a sex act.” Furthermore, Noble claims that Bob and TWC were complicit in Weinstein’s behavior because they knew, or should have known, his intentions.
Jeffrey Herman, Noble’s attorney, filed the lawsuit under both criminal and civil statutes. Former federal prosecutor Stanley L. Friedman tells PEOPLE this is a “creative” legal strategy. “This lawsuit is basically combining the best of both worlds. The attorney is citing a criminal statute that can typically only be applied by a prosecutor, and through that suit he’s also seeking a civil remedy, which if successful, would result in monetary damages.”
According to Friedman, the lawsuit could both prompt a U.S. prosecutor to seek criminal charges, and could also result in a financial settlement. A civil settlement could be even more likely if a prosecutor obtains a conviction. “There’s a slang saying that goes, ‘convict and collect,’ ” Friedman explains. “A person filing a civil case is always happy with a criminal conviction, because he or she can try to use that conviction as evidence of liability in a civil case.”
Noble claims Weinstein “groomed” her when they first met in London in 2014 by offering her a film role and mentorship. They allegedly saw each other again in February, 2014 in Cannes, France, where she says Harvey invited her to his room at Le Majestic Hotel to go over her reel.
Once inside the room, Weinstein allegedly “began massaging [Noble] and then gripped her shoulders. He informed her that she needed to relax, and if she did, his people would have all of her details and would ‘take care of everything’ for her.”
Weinstein then allegedly called an unnamed TWC producer and put him on the phone with Noble. “The TWC producer told [Noble] that she needed to be ‘a good girl and do whatever [Weinstein] wished,’ and if she did, then ‘they would work’ with her further,” according to the lawsuit.
After she hung up the phone, Weinstein allegedly “pulled [Noble] closer and groped her breasts.” She allegedly resisted, “exclaiming, ‘No, Harvey, no!'” However, the documents state, Noble “felt compelled to comply because of the tangible and intangible benefits [Weinstein] offered to advance her career.”
Weinstein “forcibly” pulled Noble into the bathroom, where he told her to “relax” while he “gripped her firmly.” He then allegedly began to rub her “breast and buttocks.” Noble claims she told Weinstein to stop and attempted to leave the bathroom, but he “blocked her exit.”
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He then “forced his leg between [Noble’s] legs, began rubbing her vagina, and then took his penis out and began masturbating,” according to the lawsuit. Weinstein allegedly forced Noble’s hand onto “his penis and forced her hand to masturbate him,” while using his other hand to “control Noble and defeat her resistance.”
After Weinstein “ejaculated onto the bathroom floor,” he told her that “his people” would be in touch, according to the documents.
Moving forward, Friedman says Noble’s lawyer will likely “be very aggressive and take discoveries as soon as possible, which would mean taking depositions of the Weinstein brothers and their company.”
A prosecutor can then review the case, “and if there’s strong evidence, there’s a possibility it will get picked up,” Friedman says. He also believes that this legal strategy could be employed by potential future accusers: “Once a lawyer files a creative lawsuit, you’ll frequently see copycats.”