Harvey Weinstein's attorney said he will "vigorously defend himself" against the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's civil rights lawsuit against Weinstein, The Weinstein Company and Robert Weinstein.
In a statement to The Wrap, attorney Ben Brafman said a "fair investigation" by Schneiderman would show that many of the allegations are "without merit."
"While Mr. Weinstein’s behavior was not without fault, there certainly was no criminality, and at the end of the inquiry it will be clear that Harvey Weinstein promoted more women to key executive positions than any other industry leader and there was zero discrimination at either Miramax or TWC," the statement reads.
"If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will embrace the investigation," Brafman continued. "If the purpose however is to scapegoat Mr. Weinstein, he will vigorously defend himself.“
On Sunday, Schneiderman filed the civil rights lawsuit against Weinstein, his company and his brother. He accused the defendants of "egregious violations of New York's civil rights, human rights and business laws."
Schneiderman accused TWC of knowing about Weinstein's sexual harassment of women, but not taking "meaningful steps" to protect its own employees or to stop Weinstein's behavior.
"As alleged in our complaint, The Weinstein Company repeatedly broke New York law by failing to protect its employees from pervasive sexual harassment, intimidation, and discrimination," Schneiderman said in a statement. "Any sale of The Weinstein Company must ensure that victims will be compensated, employees will be protected going forward, and that neither perpetrators nor enablers will be unjustly enriched. Every New Yorker has a right to a workplace free of sexual harassment, intimidation, and fear."
Schneiderman's office said the lawsuit was the result of a four-month investigation, which began shortly after the New York Times' bombshell report in October on Weinstein's sexual harassment and settlements with actresses going back two decades.
The Attorney General alleges that Weinstein hired three different groups of employees to "facilitate" his behavior, and all three groups were made up almost exclusively of women.
One group would act as "wing women" and accompany Weinstein to meetings with other women. A second group was responsible for organizing his calendar to make sure he had time for sexual activity. A third was allegedly a group of women with experience in the movie industry, but were only hired to "meet with prospective sexual conquests in order to facilitate HW’s sexual activity, and to follow through on HW’s promise of employment opportunities to women who met with HW’s favor. This compelled service demeaned and humiliated them, contributing to the hostile work environment."
Since the Times and New Yorker published their reports in October on Weinstein's behavior, 84 women have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment. Weinstein was forced out of his company and stripped of his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Some of his accusers said they were raped, and he has denied having non-consensual sex.