Last week, our colleagues Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published a book documenting their investigation of Harvey Weinstein. In writing it, they discovered information about two feminist icons — Gloria Allred and her daughter, Lisa Bloom — that raises questions about their legacies and the legal system in which they’ve worked. Today, we look at the role of Ms. Bloom, a lawyer who represented Mr. Weinstein.
But by turning personal and branding the women liars, Trump has perhaps unwittingly played into a cutting-edge strategy in the legal pursuit of sexual misconduct — claims of defamation such as those used against comedian Bill Cosby and in a lesser-known New York case, argued by two lawyers who are now representing Zervos.
.. Trump could be called to testify, with the unwelcome specter of a former president looming over him: It was Bill Clinton’s misleading sworn testimony — not the repeated allegations of sexual harassment against him — that eventually led to his impeachment.
“It’s almost a train you can’t stop going down the tracks,” said Joseph Cammarata, who represented Paula Jones against Clinton and, more recently, represented seven Cosby accusers in a defamation suit. “It opens him up to have to answer questions about sexual relations, other relationships, what might have been said, to open up your whole life.”
.. The use of defamation to litigate an underlying allegation of sexual misconduct addresses other challenges: Often, the statute of limitations is up before accusations come to light; in some instances, the he-said-she-said nature of the testimony makes accusations hard to prove.
.. Zervos is represented by Gloria Allred and her New York based co-counsel, Mariann Meier Wang, who declined to make Zervos available for questions. Allred says she represents Zervos pro bono on her website, where she appeals for donations to pay Zervos’s other legal expenses and says excess contributions will go to rape crisis centers.
.. In news conferences, she has been asked whether targets could include outtakes from “The Apprentice,” which might show how Trump treated female contestants such as Zervos.
.. After Zervos made her allegations, Trump posted a statement on his campaign website: “To be clear, I never met her at a hotel or greeted her inappropriately a decade ago.” He decried what he called “made up events,” “100% fabricated and made-up charges,” saying in the last presidential debate that the women were put forward by the campaign of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, or motivated by the desire for “ten minutes of fame,” according to Zervos’s complaint.
.. “After he called me a liar I was threatened, bullied and saw my business targeted,”
.. In 1997, a Supreme Court ruling made it possible for a sitting president to be sued for private actions that occurred before he took office. Trump’s attorneys are arguing that Clinton v. Jones, which applies to federal litigation, does not apply in state courts.
.. “That is where [Trump’s attorneys] are putting their linchpin,”
.. If she is deemed a private citizen, Zervos simply would have to show that Trump was negligent toward the truth. If she is a public figure, the bar is far higher.
.. “She would have to prove he knew [what he said] was false or had reckless disregard for the truth,”
.. Bill Pruitt, who worked on “The Apprentice,” tweeted, “As a producer on seasons 1 & 2 of #theApprentice I assure you: when it comes to the #trumptapes there are far worse.”
.. If, on the other hand, the suit does proceed, it could encourage more litigation against a president who entered office with an unusual array of lawsuits in his wake.
And if Zervos wins, her victory could embolden other accusers.
“There are 10 or 11 other women waiting in the wings,” Rabin said.
The lawyer Lisa Bloom resigned on Saturday as an adviser to Harvey Weinstein, the high-powered film producer facing allegations of rampant sexual harassment, amid harsh criticism of her handling of his defense.
Among those upset with her were two members of the board of Mr. Weinstein’s company: his brother, Bob Weinstein, and Lance Maerov, who both exchanged confrontational emails with Ms. Bloom over the past two days.
.. The tactics and tenor of her defense of Mr. Weinstein have varied, and there were often substantial differences in her public and private statements. The emails, viewed by The New York Times, reveal that at least two board members did not approve of her approach.
.. Ms. Bloom sent an email to board members attacking the article. She outlined a plan that involved “more and different reporting,” including “photos of several of the accusers in very friendly poses with Harvey after his alleged misconduct.”
.. Bob Weinstein wrote Ms. Bloom a disapproving email on Friday morning, shortly before she appeared on “Good Morning America.” He pointed out that Democratic politicians were giving away money that Mr. Weinstein had donated to them, women’s rights organizations were calling for him to be fired and actors and actresses were openly stating how appalled they were. “It is my opinion, that u are giving your client poor counsel,” he wrote. “Perhaps, Harvey as he stated in the NY Times, to the world, should get professional help for a problem that really exists.”
.. Ms. Bloom said Saturday that there was a large team handling Mr. Weinstein’s defense and that she personally “did not release photos of accusers” to the media. She also denied that her work with Mr. Weinstein created a conflict of interest.
“A conflict is representing two different sides in the same case,” she said. “This is a difficult time for all involved and I wish everyone the best.”.. Mr. Davis, a lawyer and crisis counselor who served as special counsel to President Bill Clinton, declined Saturday to discuss his departure. But he and Mr. Weinstein had disagreed over how to handle the sexual harassment allegations, with Mr. Davis advising a more conciliatory tone and approach than Mr. Weinstein seemed willing to adopt... The allegations of harassment against Mr. Weinstein reach back decades. Women accused him of requesting massages, appearing naked in front of them and asking if they wanted to watch him shower, among other behaviors... Mr. Weinstein apologized for his behavior and acknowledged that it had “caused a lot of pain.” But he denied many of the allegations and said he intended to sue The Times for failing to give him enough time to respond to them... Danielle Rhoades Ha, a Times spokeswoman, said that Mr. Weinstein had had two days to respond before the article was published, and that his full statement had been included.Mr. Weinstein and his lawyer have confirmed the essential points of the story,” she said. “They have not pointed to any errors or challenged any facts in our story.”.. Ms. Bloom, who had been advising Mr. Weinstein over the past year on gender and power dynamics, said on “Good Morning America” that his behavior had been inappropriate. She agreed with an interviewer who characterized his reported actions as illegal... Ms. Bloom has in the past represented women who brought sexual harassment claims against the actor Bill Cosby and the former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly. Her work for Mr. Weinstein drew criticism, including from her mother, Gloria Allred, the famed women’s rights lawyer... MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, who said on Twitter that she was considering walking away from a three-book deal with Weinstein Books.
“I can’t go forward with those books unless Harvey resigns,” she said, adding, “Authors, actors, and moviemakers should not work for any Weinstein company until he resigns. Not a close call.”
.. Mr. Trump told reporters that he had known Mr. Weinstein “for a long time,” adding “I’m not at all surprised to see it.”