Weinstein Lawyer Fired By NY Times Over "Secret Spying Operation"

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David Boies

A New Yorker report revealed David Boies' role in helping Weinstein contract private investigators to spy on and discredit women accusing the producer of sexual assault and journalists, including from the Times, working on the story.

The New York Times has terminated its relationship with David Boies' law firm Boies Schiller Flexner after a New Yorker report revealed his role in disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein's attempts to block sexual harassment stories at the same time as representing the newspaper in a libel case. 

On Tuesday, the Times said in a statement: “We never contemplated that the law firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and our reporters. Such an operation is reprehensible.”

Boies' conflict of interest was revealed in a bombshell New Yorker report Monday. The story, the third in a series from Ronan Farrow that has 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 late on Tuesday, Boies attempted to clarify the ethical controversy now engulfing his firm, confirming that Weinstein was a client of his but was no longer a "client of mine or of the Firm." Boies said that in the first half of 2017 the producer learned that the Times was "considering publishing a story alleging that many years ago Mr. Weinstein had raped an actress."

Boies said that neither he nor the firm could represent Weinstein, but he felt help executing the contract for the private investigators wasn't unreasonable. "While I told Mr. Weinstein that I was not in a position to represent him on these issues, his request to contract with investigators seemed, at the time, like a reasonable accommodation for a longtime client."

In hindsight, Boies said his decision to help was a mistake. "I regret having done this. It was a mistake to contract with, and pay on behalf of a client, investigators who we did not select and did not control."

He added: "I would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else, including the conduct described in the New Yorker article. That is not who I am."

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