Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is suing for reimbursement of $ 1 million in legal fees he paid to a criminal defense attorney who dropped him after six months as a client.
Weinstein, convicted of sexual assault and rape in February 2020, alleged in a lawsuit in a Manhattan state court late Tuesday that his former attorney, Jose Baez, botched his original contract and billing for the legal work he did, which violates professional conduct and New York law and refuses to reimburse fees.
Weinstein stated in his lawsuit that in January 2019 he agreed to pay Baez $ 2 million for court and follow-up trials in his criminal case. The agreement reportedly provided for payments in monthly installments of $ 200,000 to be made “on a service fee basis.”
Baez received $ 1 million as part of the engagement agreement, the complaint said, but Weinstein now claims the agreement contained an “illegal and misleading non-refundable retention clause” and other violations of New York Code of Conduct.
The lawsuit says Baez delegated most of the work to Weinstein’s other attorney, Harvard University law professor Ronald Sullivan. After Sullivan retired in May 2019 after an outcry at Harvard, Baez allegedly threatened to resign unless Weinstein immediately paid him another million dollars, which was against the terms of the agreement.
Baez asked for permission from the court to withdraw a month later. In a letter received by the New York Post to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice James Burke, Baez wrote: “Mr. Weinstein has engaged in behavior that makes this presentation unreasonably difficult to carry out, and upon it insisted on taking steps with which I have fundamental disagreements. ” . “
Weinstein claims Baez didn’t provide him with any invoices until October 2020. Baez’s colleague Michelle Medina allegedly created a table of accounts of the company’s work that was fraught with problems such as vagueness and duplication of work and “clearly designed” Weinstein’s $ 1,000,000.00 refundable payment illegally retained. “
Weinstein alleged the defendants failed to reimburse him or respond to his objections to his billing. The complaint alleges breaches of contract, unjust enrichment and fraud, among other things.
Jospeh Tacopina, a New York litigation attorney who represents Baez, Medina and their firm, criticized Weinstein’s claims as “bold lies” in a statement.
“Harvey Weinstein’s lawsuit against Jose Baez and his company is nothing more than another predatory act by a hideous devil who lacks credibility,” said Tacopina.
Tacopina is a senior partner and lead litigator at Tacopina Seigel Trial Lawyers and has counted Fox News owner Dan Snyder, rapper Jay Z and Sean Hannity as clients.
Gary Kavulich of Kavulich & Associates, who represents Weinstein, said his client was “entitled to fair and legal treatment from his own lawyers, and that’s all he wanted here.”
Baez is known for previously representing Casey Anthony, who was found not guilty in 2011 of murdering her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in a high-profile criminal case.
The case is Harvey Weinstein v Jose Baez et al., New York County Supreme Court, Index No. Unassigned.
For Harvey Weinstein: Gary Kavulich from Kavulich & Associates.
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