Judge dismisses Ashley Judd harassment claim

Judd was one of the first women in 2017 to publicly accuse Weinstein of sexual misconduct

A federal judge in the USA city of Los Angeles has dismissed actress Ashley Judd's sexual harassment claim against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein but said she could proceed with a defamation claim against him, according to media reports.

The actress has accused the disgraced producer of sexual misconduct and maintains he worked to sabotage her career when she spurned his advances.Though the harassment portion of her case against the former movie mogul can not proceed, her allegations of defamation will be heard in court next year.

She sued Harvey under the legal theory "sexual harassment in professional relationship".

Judge Philip Gutierrez, sitting in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, ruled that the actress' claim does not fall within the scope of a California statute.

While the law was changed in 2018 to cover that kind of relationship, the judge also ruled it could not be applied retroactively. However, she can still litigate her defamation claim.

Representatives for Ms Judd and Mr Weinstein could not immediately be reached for comment on the ruling.

Guiterrez's ruling on Judd's sexual harassment claim agrees with a previous ruling in July, which likewise determined that California law didn't apply, USA Today notes.

Gutierrez said Judd could continue with a defamation lawsuit.

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As previously reported, Judd has claimed that after she rejected Weinstein's sexual advances he blackballed her and director Peter Jackson didn't hire her, thereby hurting her career. "In doing so, it made clear that it was not determining whether Ms. Judd was sexually harassed in the colloquial sense of the term", Judd's attorney told E!

The lawsuit stems from an incident where Judd met with Weinstein in his hotel room, and he allegedly asked her to massage him, then-after she refused-asked her to help pick out his clothes and watch him shower.

"The burden on Weinstein has the potential of being dramatically and unfairly negative if the stay is denied".

He added: "While we respectfully disagree with the Court's decision as to the one claim it ruled on today, we look forward to pursuing the three claims for relief that the court has already ruled can move forward".

The disgraced Hollywood producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 70 women.

Mr Weinstein has denied all accusations of sexual assault, saying any sexual encounters were consensual.

The disgraced producer - who denies the charges, which were brought by two women - will stand trial in NY later this year.

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