A woman suing Harvey Weinstein for rape as part of a new class action lawsuit claims she has video evidence of the disgraced mogul harassing her during a business meeting.
Melissa Thompson claims that she had a meeting with Weinstein in September 2011 during which she pitched her tech company’s video platform, according to the class action complaint filed in the southern district of New York.
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement 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.”
As she pitched the product, Thompson says in the court filing, Weinstein began to harass and fondle her. After making initial small talk, she claims Weinstein asked if he was “allowed to flirt.” Thompson responded, according to the complaint, “We’ll see. A little bit,” feeling “cornered, as if she had to play along to not blow the pitch.”
At one point, Weinstein allegedly “reached down and began caressing her leg and moving his hand under her dress,” causing Thompson to feel “panicked,” according to the complaint.
Then, “Weinstein mumbled, ‘It’s fun when you do this,’ referring to his hand caressing her thigh,” the complaint continues, adding that he tried to reassure her he was still interested in her business by stating “I am actually seriously having a conversation with you.”
Still hoping to secure a deal with a powerful client, Thompson claims she agreed to a followup meeting later that day with Weinstein at the Tribeca Grand Hotel. She says they met in Weinstein’s hotel room, where he attempted to force himself on her. Thompson says she was able to escape to the bathroom, but when she came out, Weinstein was naked from the waist down.
After Weinstein tried and failed to force her to perform oral sex on him, Thompson says in the complaint that he pushed her on the bed, raped her and then acted as if nothing had happened. Thompson says she was left feeling “dirty and ashamed.”
Years later in 2017, Thompson claims a friend suggested she contact attorney Benjamin Brafman to take Weinstein to court over the alleged rape. In the complaint, Thompson says she spoke with attorney Alex Spiro, who she believed worked for Brafman, and shared information, including the video, about the alleged assault.
Thompson says she later experienced “severe emotional distress” upon learning that Brafman was in fact representing Weinstein.
“This firm has never represented Melissa Thompson and I personally never met with her or any of the other women named in the lawsuit,” Brafman tells PEOPLE in a statement.
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“Alex Spiro was never a partner of this firm. He was one of many Associates and left this firm in or about Sept 2017. To the extent he spoke with or met with any of these women, he did so on his own time after he had left this firm and was already employed by Quinn Emanuel. In addition, while at this firm, he never met with Mr Weinstein nor did he have any responsibility whatsoever in connection with our representation of Mr Weinstein in any matter.”
Spiro also provided a statement, saying, “I never have and I never would represent Harvey Weinstein, I left the Brafman firm well before Brafman ever represented Weinstein, and, in fact, I represent one of the key victims, but Ms. Thompson has never been a client.” Spiro is representing Ambra Battilana, one of the first women to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual assault, a source tells PEOPLE.
Phyllis Kupferstein, another attorney for Weinstein, added, “This lawsuit was filed by the same lawyers who filed the Geiss class action case. We have filed a motion to dismiss the Geiss case and this new case suffers from the same lack of merit.” (The Geiss class action case refers to another complaint filed by Weinstein accusers Louisette Geiss, Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt).
Meanwhile, Weinstein was indicted on multiple rape charges by a grand jury in New York City earlier this week.
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“This indictment brings the defendant another step closer to accountability for the crimes of violence with which he is now charged,” Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
In response, Weinstein’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman said in a statement that he was not surprised by the indictment, noting that “the Indictment merely mirrors the same charges in the criminal court Complaint and does not add anything to the case we did not already know.”
He added, “We remind everyone that an Indictment is merely a formal accusation. Mr. Weinstein intends to enter a plea of Not Guilty and vigorously defend against these unsupported allegations that he strongly denies. We will soon formally move to dismiss the indictment and if this case actually proceeds to trial, we expect Mr Weinstein to be acquitted.”
The producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 60 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed, Pulitzer-prize winning articles in October.