FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein attends a hearing in New York State Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 20, 2018. Alec Tabak/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A federal judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday dismissed actress Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment claim against movie producer Harvey Weinstein.
The judge said, however, that Judd could proceed with a defamation claim in the civil lawsuit. Judd had accused Weinstein of defaming her in 1998 after she refused what she said were his sexual advances.
In her lawsuit filed in April 2018 Judd accused Weinstein of smearing her reputation by discouraging director Peter Jackson from casting her in his blockbuster movie franchise “The Lord of the Rings.”
U.S. District Judge Philip Gutierrez ruled that Judd’s relationship as an actress with the Hollywood producer was not covered under California law, nor under a 2019 amendment.
In a footnote to the ruling Gutierrez said he was not determining whether Judd was sexually harassed by Weinstein “in the colloquial sense of the term.”
Representatives for Judd and Weinstein could not immediately be reached for comment on the ruling.
Weinstein is to stand trial in May in New York on five charges, including rape, involving two other women. Weinstein has denied all accusations of sexual assault, saying any sexual encounters were consensual.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Peter Cooney and Grant McCool