The Manhattan firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner was representing the New York Times at the same time as lead partner David Boies was aiding Harvey Weinstein’s efforts to block the publication of sexual harassment stories in the newspaper.
The New Yorker pointed to Boies’ potential conflict of interest in a bombshell report Monday. The story, the third in a series from Ronan Farrow that have caused shock waves throughout Hollywood and beyond, outlined the network of private investigators and intelligence firms Weinstein used to spy on and discredit women, including Rose McGowan, who have subsequently accused the producer of sexual assault.
Those same investigators — some of whom were former Israeli intelligence agents — also engaged journalists investigating the story, including Farrow, New York magazine’s Ben Wallace and the Times’ Jodi Kantor, who along with Megan Twohey published a story about Weinstein paying out settlements for sexual harassment Oct. 5.
The New Yorker reports that Boies personally signed the contract with security firm Black Cube, which was directed to uncover information that would stop the publication of any negative harassment stories about Weinstein in the Times, while his Manhattan firm was representing the newspaper.
In a statement to CNN’s Brian Stelter, a Times spokesperson said: “We learned today that the law firm of Boies, Schiller and Flexner secretly worked to stop our reporting on Harvey Weinstein at the same time as the firm’s lawyers were representing us in other matters. We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe. It is inexcusable, and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.”
Boies told the New Yorker that he did not consider his firm signing contracts with Black Cube as well as working on a libel case for the Times at the same time as a conflict of interest. Boies told the New Yorker that at no time did he pressure any news outlet to drop the story and that he had advised Weinstein “that the story could not be stopped by threats or influence and that the only way the story could be stopped was by convincing the Times that there was no rape.” Boies did concede that attempts to undermine reporters, including those at the Times, “would not have been appropriate.”