David Boies — the renowned lawyer that reportedly helped shield Harvey Weinstein from sexual abuse allegations — sent out a statement Tuesday to employees in his firm, acknowledging his role in the protection scheme and taking full responsibility for his actions.
“Many of you have asked for clarification of my, and the Firm’s, role related to Harvey Weinstein and recent stories concerning the hiring of private investigators,” Boies wrote.
“Mr. Weinstein, together with the lawyers representing him, selected private investigators to assist him and drafted a contract,” he explained. “He asked me to execute the contract on his behalf. I was told at the time that the purposes of hiring the private investigators were to ascertain exactly what the actress was accusing Mr. Weinstein of having done, and when, and to try to find facts that would prove the charge to be false and thereby stop the story.
“I did not (nor did the firm) select the investigators (at least one of which had been used by Mr. Weinstein previously) or direct their work; that was done by Mr. Weinstein and his other counsel,” Boies added. “While I told Mr. Weinstein that I was not in a position to represent him on these issues, his request to contract with investigators seemed at the time, like a reasonable accommodation for a longtime client. I regret having done this. It was a mistake to contract with, and pay on behalf of a client, investigators who we did not select and did not control. It was not thought through, and that was my mistake. I take responsibility for that.”
Boies has been getting blasted on social media for reportedly enabling Weinstein while employed by him. A Ronan Farrow report published in The New Yorker on Mondaydetailed his role in the aiding the Hollywood producer, saying he even went so far as to pay “success fees” for every story about Weinstein that was killed.
“In the first half of this year, Mr. Weinstein learned that the New York Times was considering publishing a story alleging that many years ago Mr. Weinstein had raped an actress,” Boies said in his statement, which was sent to The Post and all employees in his firm, Boies Schiller Flexner.
“Mr. Weinstein hotly disputed that allegation,” recalled the former Al Gore attorney.
“I told Mr. Weinstein at that time that neither I nor the Firm would represent him in this matter, and he hired several other lawyers to represent him. I also told Mr. Weinstein that the Times story could not be stopped through threats or influence; the only way that the story could be stopped was by proving it was not true.”
According to Farrow’s latest piece, Boies worked with a network of “spies” to keep track of possible Weinstein accusers and keep articles about him — which later appeared in the New York Times and New Yorker.
To make things worse, he did this while simultaneously representing the Times.
“We consider this intolerable conduct, a grave betrayal of trust, and a breach of the basic professional standards that all lawyers are required to observe,” the newspaper said in a statement Tuesday. “It is inexcusable and we will be pursuing appropriate remedies.”
Boies addressed the issue of whether there was a conflict of interest with his firm’s representation of the Times in the statement he sent to employees, saying he did not believe there was.
“First, when we were engaged by the Times we made clear that we needed to be able to continue to represent clients adverse to the Times on matters unrelated to the work we were doing for the Times,” he said, outlining an engagement letter that was countersigned by the Times.
“Second, despite the language in our Engagement Letter, I told Mr. Weinstein that we would not represent him in this matter. Third, because I perceived the investigators’ work as trying to ascertain the exact charges against Mr. Weinstein and to develop facts that would prove the charges untrue, I thought at the time that was an appropriate endeavor.”
In closing, Boies went on to say that he felt bad about ever getting involved in the protection scheme — claiming he would never have “been associated in any way” with the effort had he known what was really going on.
“I have devoted much of my professional career to helping give voice to people who would otherwise not be heard and to protecting the rights of women and others subjection to oppression,” he said. “I would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else, including the conduct described in the New Yorker article. That is not who I am.”