For the second time now, a federal judge has dismissed actress Ashley Judd's sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, leaving her with the sole option of suing him on the grounds of defamation if she wants to face off against Weinstein in court.
The judge's dismissal on Wednesday came after California altered its state law last year, making it so that film directors and producers were liable to the kind of sexual harassment charges Judd was leveling. Judd refiled her harassment claim after the modifications went into effect on January 1, but found herself in the same position as she did in September—with US District Judge Philip Gutierrez throwing out her case.
"The Court makes clear that it is not determining whether Plaintiff was sexually harassed in the colloquial sense of the term," Gutierrez wrote in his Wednesday decision. "The only question presented by the current motion is whether the harassment that Plaintiff allegedly suffered falls within the scope of the California statute that she has sued under."
Judd first brought her suit against Weinstein in April, accusing Weinstein of blackballing her from a role in The Lord of the Rings after she rebuffed his advances at a meeting during which Weinstein asked Judd if he could give her a massage and then asked her to watch him shower. "I said no, a lot of ways, a lot of times, and he always came back at me with some new ask,” Judd told the New York Times of the alleged encounter in October 2017, in the outlet's bombshell report on Weinstein. “It was all this bargaining, this coercive bargaining.”
A New York judge dismissed another allegation of sexual misconduct against Weinstein this past October after the Manhattan district attorney's office reportedly uncovered evidence authorities claimed proved what accuser Lucia Evans had called sexual assault may have been consensual. Evans' lawyer contested the decision at the time, saying the move spoke "volumes about the Manhattan DA's office and its mishandling" of Evans' case.
Weinstein is still slated to appear in a New York court on March 7 for a pre-trial hearing for five felony charges related to multiple incidents of sexual assault that date back to 2006.
Feminist attorney Gloria Allred will be representing one of the plaintiffs in court, and suggested last month that news of dropped charges against Weinstein shouldn't be reason to think he won't be held accountable for his alleged crimes.
“Headlines suggesting that the case is crumbling are incorrect," Allred told reporters outside a Manhattan courthouse in December.
“There’s only one person on trial here," she continued. "...It’s Harvey Weinstein."