“This case is about a diabolical and illegal effort by one of America’s most powerful men and his representatives to silence sexual assault victims,” the suit obtained by CNN states. “And it is about the courageous women and journalists who persisted to reveal the truth.”
CNN has emailed and called reps for all the parties named in the suit for comment.
“Harvey Weinstein was able to perpetrate and cover up decades of violence and control over women because he had a sophisticated team working on his behalf to systematically silence and discredit his victims,” McGowan said in a statement provided to CNN. “My life was upended by their actions, and I refuse to be intimidated any longer.”
Weinstein’s civil attorney, Phyllis Kupferstein, disputed McGowan’s claim.
“From the moment she sought a $6 million dollar payout in return for not making these baseless allegations, which we rejected at the time, we knew that she was waiting for an opportune time such as this to begin her suit,” Kupferstein said in a statement to CNN. “We will demonstrate that this case has no legal merit.”
Julie B. Porter, an attorney for McGowan, refuted that her client sought $6 million from Weinstein, stating that Weinstein offered McGowan $1 million not to publish her memoir.
“McGowan never took a settlement from him to remain silent and never intended to do so,” Porter said.
“It is inexcusable that Ms. McGowan chose to include my client in her lawsuit,” an attorney for Lisa Bloom said in a statement to CNN. “Facts matter. There is simply no credible factual or legal basis for her claims against my client. We look forward to our day in court to set the record straight.”
Black Cube Strategies and Boies have not yet responded to CNN’s request for comment, but a spokesman for Boies’ firm said in a statement to the New York Times
that McGowan’s lawsuit “inappropriately includes our firm and we have no choice but to defend ourselves against allegations that are simply untrue.”
McGowan, 46, is one of more than 80 women to come forward with allegations against Weinstein ranging from sexual violence and harassment to rape.
She has previously accused Weinstein of raping her in 1997 at the Sundance Film Festival.
Weinstein was never charged as a result of McGowan’s allegation and, through his spokesperson, has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex” against him.
McGowan’s civil complaint, filed in federal court in California, alleges that a group of lawyers, agents, spies and others dubbed the “Weinstein-Protection Enterprise” worked together in an attempt to stop her from sharing her story in her memoir, “Brave.”
“When Weinstein learned of McGowan’s book and her desire to expose him, he put a plan in motion to bury it, just as he had with other sexual-assault allegations,” the suit states. “To do so, Weinstein mobilized his team of experts in investigations, intelligence, and media messaging to launch a multi-pronged attack on McGowan and other accusers.”
The complaint outlines Weinstein’s alleged efforts, including McGowan’s claim that an undercover agent working for the former film executive gained her trust and obtained access to her manuscript for the purpose of sharing it with Weinstein’s team.
McGowan claims in her suit that Weinstein offered her $1 million to not go public with her rape allegation and to drop the publication of her book.
The complaint also alleges that Weinstein enlisted attorney Jose Baez as part of his alleged smear campaign against her.
Baez represented McGowan after she was indicted in June 2018 on a felony cocaine possession charge. (The charge was later reduced to a misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance charge, to which McGowan pleaded no contest.)
He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
CNN has reached out to Baez for comment.
McGowan’s suit concludes that she “has suffered tremendously from Defendants’ conspiracy and lies.”
“Her book sales suffered; her expenses mounted; her job opportunities vanished; and her emotional health cratered,” the complaint states. “She has experienced trauma and depression from Defendants’ actions, and the deep betrayal will have life-long effects.”
The suit was filed not long after the publication of the books “Catch and Kill” by Ronan Farrow, and “She Said” by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, which detail their reporting on the Weinstein scandal and the rise of the #MeToo movement
In “She Said,” the pair write of how Weinstein’s then attorney Lisa Bloom offered advice to him in memos on how to “help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them.”
Bloom apologized to Weinstein’s accusers in 2017 and offered another apology ahead of the publication of “She Said.”