A lawyer who has represented Bill Cosby and R. Kelly, as well as a law firm partner, was approved by a judge Friday to join the defense team of Harvey Weinstein, who was sued by a former model/actress who says the producer sexually assaulted her in her Beverly Hills hotel room in 2013.
The plaintiff is identified as Jane Doe No. 1 in the Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit filed Feb. 9, which alleges sexual battery, false imprisonment, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
On Friday, Judge Elaine W. Mandel approved applications by New York lawyers Jennifer Bonjean and Ashley Cohen to represent Weinstein even though they are unlicensed in California and not members of the State Bar.
On Dec. 19, Weinstein, 71, was convicted of three of the seven criminal counts he was facing — forcible rape, forcible oral copulation and sexual penetration by a foreign object. All three of those counts related to Doe, with the crimes occurring on or about Feb. 18, 2013. Weinstein was sentenced to 16 years in prison on Feb. 23.
The plaintiff’s attorneys maintained in their court papers opposing the Bonjean-Cohen applications that Bonjean has been granted similar privileges in California twice in the past two years and that it would disrupt the orderly process of justice to allow Bonjean and Cohen to represent Weinstein in this case while also representing him in his ongoing criminal case appeal.
Weinstein’s other lawyer in the case, Michael Freedman, is licensed in California. He and Bonjean represented Cosby in a trial in June 2022 in which a jury awarded $500,000 to Judy Huth, a Riverside County woman who said the comedian sexually abused her when she was a teenager at the Playboy Mansion in the 1970s. Cosby, 85, is appealing the verdict.
Bonjean and Freedman previously filed an answer to the plaintiff’s complaint maintaining that Weinstein’s accuser’s claims are barred by the statute of limitations, that her request for punitive damages is unconstitutional and that her lawsuit should be dismissed.
Weinstein’s criminal case attorney, Mark Werksman, told jurors in the criminal case trial that Jane Doe No. 1 “was not a woman who was alone and vulnerable and cut off from the world,” noting that she let his client into her hotel room at Mr. C Beverly Hills and had a cell phone and the hotel room phone at her disposal.
The plaintiff was in town to attend a film festival and she alleges that Weinstein came to her room unexpectedly after she attended events that day related to a film festival.
“After he was done raping her, he acted as if nothing out of the ordinary happened and left,” the plaintiff’s court papers allege.
Doe did not report the incident until 2017, when she had a talk with her daughter, during a time when Weinstein was at the forefront of the #metoo movement, according to her attorneys’ court papers.
City News Service contributed to this article.