(Reuters) – The lawyer representing Harvey Weinstein’s latest accuser is attempting to set legal precedent by contending Weinstein’s actions overseas make him liable for civil damages under a criminal law against sex trafficking, five legal experts said.
British actress Kadian Noble, 31, sued the Hollywood mogul in U.S. District Court on Monday, accusing him of luring her to his hotel room in Cannes, France, on the promise of a movie role but instead he forced himself upon her sexually.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, does not accuse Weinstein of labor trafficking or other exploitations commonly associated with the commercial sex industry. But the criminal law on which the civil claim in based bans the use of force, threat or coercion for a sex act in exchange for value.
The alleged “value” in this case was the potential for a role in one of Weinstein’s films, according to the complaint. Attorneys interviewed by Reuters called the lawsuit’s application “innovative” and said they would be watching closely, but expressed mixed views about whether the approach would work in federal court.
Noble’s lawsuit claimed Weinstein promised her a role in a Weinstein Company project and that he invited her to his hotel room in February 2014 in France on the premise of viewing her show reel, or video highlights of her acting.
Responding to the lawsuit, Holly Baird, a spokeswoman for Weinstein, on Monday denied the allegation of non-consensual sex. Baird could not be reached on Tuesday for comment on the claim that Weinstein violated sex trafficking laws.
Weinstein and his representatives have also denied the allegations of more than 50 women who have accused him of sexually harassing or assaulting them over the past three…