New York Times fires lawyer who worked with Weinstein

This file photo taken on March 2, 2014 shows US film producer Harvey Weinstein arriving on the red carpet for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2017
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New York Times fires lawyer who worked with Weinstein

NEW YORK: The New York Times on Tuesday fired lawyer David Boies’ firm after learning it tried to halt the newspaper’s investigation into sexual harassment charges against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein while also representing the newspaper on other matters.
Boies has disputed the Times’ view that his work for Weinstein represented a conflict of interest. Still, he no longer works for Weinstein and said the task he completed for him was a mistake.
It represents the fallout from a New Yorker magazine article that reported Weinstein hired investigators to trail women who had accused him of mistreatment, including Rose McGowan and Rosanna Arquette. Journalists pursuing the story, including Jodi Kantor of the Times and Ronan Farrow, author of Tuesday’s New Yorker piece, also were investigated.
It was not immediately clear how much business the Times did with the law firm Boies Schiller and Flexner.
Boies, best known for representing Al Gore in the 2000 disputed election against George W. Bush, is the second prominent attorney to take heat for representing the man accused of being one of Hollywood’s biggest sexual predators. Lisa Bloom, a prominent women’s rights lawyer, quit representing Weinstein when the extent of the accusations against him became known.
The article said Boies’ firm hired and paid one organization with a background in Israeli intelligence agencies at the same time it was representing the Times in a libel case.
In a statement to his firm’s employees on Tuesday, Boies noted that his contract with the newspaper made clear that his firm might do work for clients in unrelated areas that were against the Times’ interests.
Times spokeswoman Danielle Rhoades Ha said the newspaper never contemplated the firm would contract with an intelligence firm to conduct a secret spying operation aimed at our reporting and reporters.
“Such an operation is reprehensible, and the Boies firm must have known that its existence would have been material to our decision whether to continue using the firm,” she said. “Whatever legalistic arguments and justifications can be made, we should have been treated better by a firm that we trusted.”
Boies said Weinstein had told him that the Times was considering publishing a story alleging that the mogul had raped an actress. Boies said he would not defend him against these charges, and told him the only way the story could be stopped was to prove it was untrue.
Weinstein selected private investigators to try and do that, Boies said, and asked him to draft a contract with one such group. Boies said he now believes it was a mistake to do this for an investigative firm he did not know.
The New Yorker said some of the investigators misrepresented themselves in contact with their subjects, compiled personal and sexual histories on some, and left some of the targets feeling intimidated. Boies said he never would have drawn up the contract had he known what it would be used for.
“I would never knowingly participate in an effort to intimidate or silence women or anyone else,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Weinstein did not immediately return a message seeking comment. He has characterized his contact with actresses as consensual.


Vietnam withdraws license of news site, issues fine

Updated 17 July 2018
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Vietnam withdraws license of news site, issues fine

  • The one-party state controls most media and has jailed activists and bloggers critical of the government, but revoking licenses is rare
  • The website was one of the most widely read in the country, publishing critical content on politics, lifestyle and social issues

HANOI: A popular Vietnamese news website has been suspended and fined about $10,000 after it was accused of publishing false information, as the communist government quashes any perceived criticism.
The one-party state controls most media and has jailed activists and bloggers critical of the government, but revoking licenses is rare.
The Ministry of Information and Communication said in an announcement Monday that the state-owned Tuoi Tre Online misquoted President Tran Dai Quang in an article in June that had him endorsing the idea of a law on demonstrations.
In a separate report last year on highway development, comments posted on the site had also contributed to undermining “national unity,” the announcement said.
The report on the president came days after scores were detained in June, following sometimes violent protests in several cities against planned special economic zones seen as opening the door to land takeovers by China.
An American-Vietnamese citizen arrested during the crackdown is expected to face trial this week.
The demonstrations were not mentioned in the order from the ministry, which said the outlet must pay a fine, surrender its license for three months, publish a correction and issue an apology.
“Tuoi Tre Online must seriously obey this decision,” the ministry said.
The newspaper connected with the site published a note Tuesday in print saying it would comply with the order.
“Tuoi Tre Online will have to say good bye to our readers for three months, starting July 16,” it said.
“During this time, Tuoi Tre Online will proceed with the perfection of its personnel, improving its content so that we can serve readers better when we are back.”
It said several print publications published by the same institution would continue operating normally.
The website was one of the most widely read in the country, publishing critical content on politics, lifestyle and social issues.