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Harvey Weinstein responds to Ashley Judd's defamation claims

The actress has filed a case with the Los Angeles Superior Court where she claims she lost out on a part in 'The Lord of the Rings' after she rejected his sexual advances.

FILE: Harvey Weinstein at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2009. Picture: AFP.

LOS ANGELES - Harvey Weinstein has responded to Ashley Judd's defamation lawsuit after the actress claimed she lost out on a part in The Lord of the Rings because she rejected his sexual advances.

The actress has filed a case with the Los Angeles Superior Court where she claims she lost out on a part in The Lord of the Rings after she rejected Weinstein's sexual advances because he made "false and malicious statements he made regarding her professionalism".

A statement, issued via his representative, reads: "The most basic investigation of the facts will reveal that Mr. Weinstein neither defamed Ms. Judd nor ever interfered with Ms. Judd's career, and instead not only championed her work but also repeatedly approved her casting for two of his movies over the next decade. The actual facts will show that Mr. Weinstein was widely known for having fought for Ms. Judd as his first choice for the lead role in Good Will Hunting and, in fact, arranged for Ms. Judd to fly to New York to be considered for the role. Thereafter, Ms. Judd was hired for not one, but two of Mr. Weinstein's movies, Frida in 2002 and _Crossing Over _with Harrison Ford in 2009. We look forward to a vigorous defense of these claims."

In the filing, Judd accused Weinstein of retaliating after she turned down the producer.

The court documents read: "The pathetic reality, however, was that Weinstein was retaliating against Ms. Judd for rejecting his sexual demands approximately one year earlier, when he cornered her in a hotel room under the guise of discussing business. A self-described 'benevolent dictator' who has bragged that 'I can be scary,' Weinstein used his power in the entertainment industry to damage Ms. Judd's reputation and limit her ability to find work."

Judd is claiming for damages, an order to prevent Weinstein from "engaging in further retaliatory conduct towards" her, an injunction against Weinstein to "cease engaging in unfair competition" and legal costs.