New York Attorney General Launches Blockbuster Suit Against Harvey Weinstein

A deal which would remove Weinstein and his brother Bob from the company but leave the management structure otherwise intact is "unacceptable", Schneidermann said.

The deal was said to be finalised on Sunday.

Harvey Weinstein, 65, is being investigated by British and United States police, but has not been charged with any crime.

The 38-page lawsuit was the result of a four-month civil rights investigation by Schneiderman's office that began after reports emerged in the New York Times and the New Yorker detailing decades of sexual abuse allegations.

Where Weinstein's brother Bob and board members played dumb. She proposed retaining the company's employees and installing a majority-female board of directors, with Contreras-Sweet as chairman.

Weinstein has denied he ever engaged in non-consensual sex.

The investor group headed by Maria Contreras-Sweet have reportedly expressed their frustration after the lawsuit, terming the sale process "98% dead and on life support". A decision on who would lead the company has n't been made.

That's when Schneiderman entered the picture.

Investigators obtained a digital copy of Weinstein's personnel file.

"While they had different titles, as a practical matter their primary responsibility included taking [Weinstein] to parties at which he could meet young women, and introducing him to young women seeking opportunities at [The Weinstein Company] with whom he could attempt to engage in sexual relations", the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit filing can be read in full on the attorney general's website.

On Sunday, a source close to the deal said Contreras-Sweet was "stunned and disappointed" at Schneiderman's lawsuit.

The court papers describe Weinstein as a kingmaker who could "essentially blacklist a person across the industry" if they crossed him and that he could use his roster of powerful people to enact reprisals.

He also said there was no mention in the sale documents of a victims compensation fund, as had been agreed with the attorney general's office.

Instead of investigating and taking prompt corrective action, the Weinstein Company used settlements that contained strict nondisclosure agreements to keep the misconduct hidden from other employees, the public and law enforcement, the suit alleges.

At a press conference on Monday afternoon, Schneiderman indicated that Glasser's continued involvement is unacceptable.

The company never launched an investigation into any of the complaints, he said. "They knew what was happening".

Glasser could not immediately be reached for comment. Under his leadership, the Weinstein Co. has been a dominant force at the Oscars, including the rare feat of winning back-to-back best picture Academy Awards with "The King's Speech" and "The Artist".

Schneiderman emphasized that his office "will not stand in the way" if his concerns are addressed.

A sale of the company is seen as key to avoiding bankruptcy, which would make it more hard for victims to get any compensation resulting from lawsuits.

Schneiderman said he believed the potential purchasers of the firm would now take into account "the facts we have alleged and now understand they have more on their hands than they initially realized".

Vanessa Coleman