12:24pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Harvey Weinstein Appears in Bankruptcy Court to "Exonerate Himself"
Harvey Weinstein has finally made an appearance in the bankruptcy of The Weinstein Co. On Friday, he submitted a motion aimed at forcing the debtor to hand over his personnel file. He says his discovery request will allow him to "exonerate himself."
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after it became embroiled in a transformative controversy thanks to several dozen women who have come forward to publicly accuse Weinstein of rampant sexual misconduct.
In court papers today, Weinstein says "it is critical that Mr. Weinstein be granted access to e-mails relevant to the certain civil proceedings and criminal investigations and that are in the Debtors’ possession, as they were sent or received by his TWC e-mail accounts. The Debtors’ continued refusal to permit Mr. Weinstein to access these emails has significantly impinged his ability to effectively defend himself from these allegations and is a continuing deprivation of his due-process rights."
Weinstein previously attempted to go to a Delaware state court to get those documents after he was terminated from the company. He was unsuccessful there and is now in arbitration with the studio that bears his name.
He is now pushing for those same documents in bankruptcy court and states "the narrowly-tailored discovery requested herein is designed to allow Mr. Weinstein to exonerate himself and protect the Debtors, while minimizing the burden on the Debtors both in regard to providing the requested discovery and in regard to the Debtors’ own potential liability in those actions. Moreover, Mr. Weinstein is a creditor, shareholder and former director, officer and employee of TWC. Accordingly, he has a vested interest in ensuring that the value of these estates is maximized and that all potential estate liability is minimized."
The court papers acknowledge four active criminal investigations, including ones in New York, Los Angeles and London. Apparently, law enforcement officials are looking to interview him.
According to his motion, "Each jurisdiction has contacted Mr. Weinstein’s criminal counsel, requesting to meet and for Mr. Weinstein and his counsel to provide any supporting documentation relating to their investigations. Mr. Weinstein’s criminal attorneys in each of the jurisdictions have been in regular communication with the investigating authorities in each of those jurisdictions and have undertaken efforts in each of the pending investigations to present exculpatory evidence on Mr. Weinstein’s behalf to the authorities, specifically including exculpatory communications known to be contained in TWC emails both authored by Mr. Weinstein and/or specifically addressed to and received by Mr. Weinstein."
Weinstein blasts TWC's board, which still includes his brother, as refusing document requests.
"TWC prefers that Mr. Weinstein be unable to defend himself," states the motion to compel. "TWC’s withholding of exculpatory e-mails is a manifest injustice to an individual’s due process and should not be tolerated."