A Manhattan federal judge on Tuesday promptly rejected a proposed settlement that aimed to establish a nearly $19 million compensation fund for women who said they were victimized by disgraced ex-movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, in a setback for New York Attorney General Letitia James and plaintiff’s lawyers who negotiated the controversial deal.

Less than 15 minutes into a preliminary approval hearing, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the Southern District of New York lambasted the “phony” settlement as an end-run around class certification in the case, which he said was not possible given the variety of interactions that the accusers had with convicted rapist and former Hollywood film producer.

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