Legal Ethics

David Boies' business relationships with Harvey Weinstein began with a book venture

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David Boies/ABA Journal file photo (Kathy Anderson).

Lawyer David Boies began representing producer Harvey Weinstein and his brother, Bob, after a 2001 meeting involving a book idea. Harvey Weinstein thought Boies’ own life story would make a good memoir for his publishing imprint, Miramax Books. The result was the book Courting Justice.

It was not Boies’ only business relationship with Harvey Weinstein, Bloomberg News reports.

In 2012, Boies started a movie company that provided an outlet for his daughter, actress Mary Regency, and Zack Schiller, the son of Boies’ partner Jonathan Schiller. Zach Schiller was also seeking a career in the entertainment industry.

Boies’ daughter had already landed an acting role in a Weinstein Co. movie, Silver Linings Playbook, before Boies started the company.

Boies’ daughter produced a Western, Jane Got a Gun, for the new company, and the U.S. rights were acquired by the Weinsteins along with another company that later filed for bankruptcy. The movie was distributed in the United States in January 2016 by the Weinstein Co.

“The Western flopped, but the men stayed in business together,” Bloomberg reported. Boies invested $5 million in a Weinstein Co. adventure movie called Gold and another $5 million in a Nicole Kidman comedy called The Upside.

Boies found himself at the center of criticism after it was revealed he signed a contract with an investigative agency that sought to stop journalists from publishing a story about sexual harassment by Weinstein, even as he represented the New York Times in unrelated matters. Boies said he would never had signed the contract if he had known of the tactics it used.

In a Bloomberg interview, Boies said it’s not improper to represent an alleged sexual harasser.

“I’m old enough to remember when nobody ever wanted to defend anybody who was accused of being a communist, whether they were a communist or not,” Boies said. “Today, it’s really dangerous to defend anyone who is accused of being a terrorist, again, whether they are or not. I think that the issue of sexual assault and sexual harassment falls into that category a little bit today.”

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