(NEW YORK) — A new Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) lawsuit filed Friday in a Manhattan federal court accuses Harvey Weinstein’s defense attorney of deceiving a Connecticut woman who accused Weinstein of rape.
Melissa Thompson’s claim was included in a proposed class-action lawsuit in which she and two other women allege they were sexually assaulted by the disgraced film producer.
Thompson said that during a 2011 meeting in his New York City office to pitch Weinstein on a new technology to market films he sexually assaulted her, twice reaching under her dress to caress her leg and pinning her to a refrigerator in the office’s kitchen.
Weinstein told her the meeting would continue at the Tribeca Grand Hotel after he finished editing a movie, the complaint says. Instead of continuing the meeting in the hotel’s restaurant area, Weinstein told Thompson to follow him to what she thought would be a screening room in the hotel, according to the complaint. Instead, Weinstein “opened a door and hustled Thompson into a sitting room in his hotel suite,” the complaint alleges.
There, he exposed himself, invited her to shower with him and importuned her to give him a massage, the complaint says. Feeling trapped, she agreed to the massage in the hope that would be the extent of the assault, but when she climbed on the bed to rub his back, he turned over, flipped her onto her back and raped her, according to the complaint.
“His hands were everywhere and she could not get out of his grasp or keep up with deflecting him,” the lawsuit states. “Weinstein held Thompson down and raped her. Thompson closed her eyes, traumatized, praying for the assault to end.”
Weinstein has denied all nonconsensual sexual encounters.
The lawsuit was filed one week after he was arrested on rape and criminal sex act charges stemming from accounts by other women. Thompson did not report the alleged encounter to police at the time because, the lawsuit said, she feared Weinstein’s wrath.
“She knew that Weinstein could and would destroy her if she complained about his sexual misconduct,” the lawsuit said.
Thompson’s lawsuit said she had audio and video evidence of the assault, but alleges she was tricked by Weinstein’s defense attorney Ben Brafman into giving it to him. She accused Brafman and another attorney who used to work for him, Alex Spiro, of using “deceptive tactics” to make it seem like they were working for Weinstein’s victims. The complaint alleges Thompson spoke on the phone, exchanged texts and sent emails to Spiro, who she believed was working on Brafman’s behalf.
After she sent video to Spiro, believing he worked for Brafman, she later texted him and he responded, “What? No. I don’t work there. Nor do I rep anyone involved.”
“She had shared important evidence against Weinstein with the very law firm who represented Weinstein — unbeknownst to her,” the lawsuit said.
Brafman denied he or his firm did anything improper.
In a statement to ABC News, Brafman said his firm “has never represented” Thompson and that he has “personally never met with her or any of the other women named in the lawsuit.”
“Alex Spiro was never a partner of this firm he was one of many Associates and left this firm in or about Sept 2017,” Brafman said in the statement. “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.”
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