NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, claiming that the movie mogul’s actions to cover up assaults amounted to civil racketeering.
The lawsuit was filed at a federal court in New York seeking to represent a class of “dozens, if not hundreds” of women who say they were assaulted by Weinstein.
The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise” and that they worked with Weinstein to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.
“The Weinstein Sexual Enterprise had many participants, grew over time as the obfuscation of Weinstein’s conduct became more difficult to conceal,” the suit said.
A lawyer for Weinstein declined comment.
According to the lawsuit, actresses and other women in the film industry were lured to industry events, hotel rooms, Weinstein’s home, office meetings or auditions under the pretense that they were to discuss a project.
“The common experience is they were all lured into an interview with Harvey, either in his office or his house or in a hotel room,” attorney for the accusers, Steve Berman, told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman.
Plaintiffs included the scriptwriter and actress Louisette Geiss and the actresses Katherine Kendall, Zoe Brock, Sarah Ann Thomas, Melissa Sagemiller and Nanette Klatt.
The Associated Press generally doesn’t name alleged victims of sexual assault without their permission. All of the women have told their stories publicly.
“It’s not a label any of us with to wear,” the six women said in a joint statement. “But we will if we can transform our horror stories into a cultural shift.”
The lawsuit also names Weinstein’s brother, Bob, The Weinstein Company, several outside firms, and the publisher of the National Enquirer as part of what the suit calls the “Weinstein sexual enterprise.”
New York Knicks owner James Dolan was named as well, having been on the board for The Weinstein Company from 2015-2016, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
“I think the lawsuit will uncover more victim, and it will also uncover more people who were involved in facilitating Harvey’s misconduct,” said Berman.
At least 75 women have come forward in the media to detail accounts of assault, harassment and inappropriate conduct by Weinstein. Weinstein’s representatives have denied all accusations of non-consensual sex, but no charges have been filed.
Weinstein, 65, is being investigated by police in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, New York and London
Weinstein was ousted from the movie company he founded following a barrage of sexual harassment allegations that began with a bombshell New York Times article in early October. Since then, numerous prominent men in entertainment, business and politics and the media have been hit with allegations of improper behavior with women.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)