The full story of how celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom worked to help Harvey Weinstein and give ammo to Donald Trump

Kat Tenbarge
Attorney Lisa Bloom arrives at the Montgomery County Courthouse during Bill Cosby's sexual assault retrial on Thursday, April 12, 2018, in Norristown, Pa.

Mark Makela/Pool Photo via AP

  • In "She Said," a new book by New York Times reporters Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the high-profile feminist attorney Lisa Bloom is put on blast for her defense of Harvey Weinstein.
  • A memo from Bloom to Weinstein detailing how she would use her experience defending sexual assault victims to discredit his accusers has gone viral, with multiple celebrities denouncing Bloom.
  • In addition, "She Said" suggests that Bloom operated a money-making scheme off of potential sexual assault victims of President Donald Trump, giving the president ammunition to defend himself in the process. 
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Lisa Bloom built a reputation of representing female victims of sexual assault, not unlike her mother, the famous feminist attorney Gloria Allred. But now Bloom's reputation is at stake, thanks to a widely-publicized memo she sent her former client Harvey Weinstein and new details from the book "She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement." 

New York Times reporters Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor reveal the process of breaking the Weinstein sexual harassment story that won a Pulitzer Prize in "She Said," and at the same time the two cast doubt on Bloom's legacy as a defender of women.

As explained in her memo to the disgraced Hollywood producer, Bloom relied on the same tactics she used to defend sexual assault victims to try and slander some of Weinstein's accusers, most notably Rose McGowan. But as Twohey and Kantor explore in "She Said," Bloom also provided President Donald Trump with valuable ammunition against the media and his accusers in her efforts to raise money for herself and potential Trump victims.

Read more: Gwyneth Paltrow hesitated to expose Harvey Weinstein because of controversy surrounding Goop, according to a new tell-all

Lisa Bloom's career includes some major wins for female victims of sex crimes.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Bloom first practiced law at her mother's firm, helping to file an ultimately unsuccessful sex discrimination suit against the Boy Scouts of America on behalf of a girl who wanted to join. 

She enjoyed a lucrative career on TV as a legal expert before starting her own firm in 2010. Since then, Bloom and her clients have engaged in high-profile lawsuits that made strides in sex crime cases in New York and California. 

Bloom represented model and actress Janice Dickinson in her defamation case against Bill Cosby, actress Mischa Barton in her revenge porn case, influencer Blac Chyna as she took out a temporary restraining order against Rob Kardashian, and former Representative John Conyers' sexual harassment accuser Marion Brown. 

She also represented three of Bill O'Reilly's accusers, including Wendy Walsh, whose complaint incited 21st Century Fox to initiate the investigation that led to O'Reilly's removal. 

But in "She Said" and on Twitter, some of her clients have criticized how Bloom handled their cases.

REUTERS/Ringo Chiu

In "She Said," Twohey and Kantor explain that Bloom represented former Fox contributor and attorney Tamara Holder in her sexual assault case against Fox executive Francisco Cortes, who she said trapped her in his office and tried to force her to perform oral sex. 

Bloom helped Holder attain a settlement for more than $2.5 million, but Holder later told the reporters that Bloom didn't explain just how ironclad the terms of the settlement were. Holder wanted to speak out about what had happened to her, but if articles were published, she would lose much of the $2.5 million. 

"She did not care about me. She cared about the money," Holder later told Twohey, explaining that Bloom fired her and walked away with $1 million after Holder voiced her concerns. In "She Said," Bloom denies that she pressured Holder, and says she walks through settlements line-by-line with her clients. 

Read more: The career of Lisa Bloom: How Gloria Allred's daughter ended up defending Harvey Weinstein and came to regret it

On Twitter, after the memo sent from Bloom to Weinstein leaked, another one of her former clients spoke out: Kathy Griffin. Bloom represented Griffin after the comedian posted a picture of her holding up a prop of President Donald Trump's severed head. 

In her thread, Griffin explains that Bloom called a press conference days after the photo blew up online, during which Griffin felt more like a prop in "an infomercial for her firm in her office." The comedian also said Bloom invited reporters from Entertainment Tonight, who interviewed Bloom while Griffin was in her office with Bloom's husband, who held the door shut.

Griffin also said that conservative bloggers showed up to the press conference and harassed her, and that Bloom then charged her $40,000 for representation and advocacy, which Griffin asked to be returned – Bloom refused.

Bloom also relied on her experience defending women to help tear them down to Harvey Weinstein's advantage.

Mark Lennihan/AP

The explosive memo, which circulated on Twitter and was contained in "She Said," explains to Weinstein just how Bloom intended to use her repertoire of defenses for sexual assault victims against Weinsein's accusers. 

In it, Bloom specifically refers to actress and Weinstein accuser Rose McGowan as a "pathological liar," and tells Weinstein "I feel equipped to help you against the Roses of the world, because I have represented so many of them."

In "She Said," Twohey and Kantor explore how Bloom attempted to gain information about their reporting and stymie their efforts even in the very beginning of their investigation. As Kantor began meeting with Hollywood actresses who weren't ready to go on the record about their experiences with Weinstein yet, Bloom reached out via email, feigning ignorance. 

Kantor learned from a colleague at The New York Times that Bloom was close to Weinstein, who, along with Jay-Z, she had announced would be making her book "Suspicion Nation: The Inside Story of the Trayvon Martin Injustice and Why We Continue to Repeat It" into a miniseries, which did not come to fruition.

Kantor ended up having a short conversation with Bloom, but did not reveal any details of her investigation into Weinstein's sexual abuse. 

It was also revealed later to the two reporters that Bloom, as part of the tactics she hinted at in her memo, explained to Weinstein that there was a difference between "physical coercion" and "mental coercion," with the latter being sexual exploitation due to a power imbalance.

Bloom developed Weinstein's defense that he had only mentally coerced McGowan, a lesser offense than assaulting her. 

Bloom has apologized for defending Weinstein, but "She Said" exposes just how far the attorney was willing to go for her client.

Mark Makela/Pool Photo via AP

Beyond representing Weinstein publicly, Bloom went on the offensive against Twohey and Kantor during their reporting. The attorney apologized for her role in Weinstein's defense on Twitter, thanking the reporters and writing that "When the first woman went on record accusing him of sexual assault, I immediately resigned and apologized."

She did resign from Weinstein's team once the Times went ahead with publishing Twohey and Kantor's reporting, but the two chronicle how far Bloom was willing to go to stop the publication of their article in "She Said."

Not only was Bloom aware of records containing allegations against Weinstein prior to the reporting, but her mother Gloria Allred's firm sat on them prior to the Times' investigation. Allred negotiated a settlement between Weinstein and a backup dancer from "Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights," which Weinstein's company Miramax produced.

Read more: Celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom offered Harvey Weinstein a smear campaign against Rose McGowan in an unearthed letter

Allred is also a strong proponent of allowing non-disclosure agreements in conjunction with sexual assault and harassment settlements – which serve as a win for both the legal representation of the victim and the abuser, with the former profiting and the later keeping their reputation intact.

Both Bloom and her mother used the settlement and non-disclosure agreement method to seek closure for the women they represented. 


While working for Weinstein, Bloom pressured the Times reporters and suggested the paper had a "reckless disregard for the truth."

As Twohey and Kantor continued their investigation, W Magazine published a profile of Allred and Bloom with the headline "Gloria Allred and Lisa Bloom Are the Defenders of Women in 2017." By January 2017, the Times reporters, wrote, Bloom had already been on Weinstein's legal team for six weeks, and was being paid $895 per hour.

As publication of the Times' investigation drew closer, in October, Bloom was still working for Weinstein. In an email to the producer and other members of his legal teeam, Bloom wrote "We can nip at [the article] around the edges – and we should – but it is going to run."

In an early statement prepared for the Times, Bloom wrote that she was a women's rights advocate and that she had forced Weinstein to listen to her and "evolve." She noted that he was working on bringing her book to the screen, but had always been very respectful toward her.

Then, in a surprise visit to the newsroom, Bloom and Weinstein appeared in front of the reporters. Bloom pulled out red carpet photos of Weinstein with Judd and McGowan, while Weinstein suggested the two women were mentally unstable. 

Right before the article went live online, Weinstein and Bloom called the reporters and continued to make the producer's case. Bloom resorted to media shaming tactics, complaining that the Times had "a reckless disregard for the truth" and was attempting to publish a "hit piece" full of "false accusations." 

After the first article was published, with actress Ashley Judd on the record, Bloom continued to contend that the accusations were false. She only resigned after multiple more women came forward, The New Yorker published its own investigation, and actress Gwyneth Paltrow decided to go on the record with accusations of her own.  

Some of Bloom's fundraising for sexual assault victims may have been more for herself, and given Trump ammunition against his accusers.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Apart from her involvement in the Weinstein sexual harassment story, Twohey and Kantor pointed out another ploy that appeared to benefit Bloom financially under the guise of seeking legal justice for women. That time, it concerned Donald Trump.

In 2016, the reporters wrote in "She Said," Bloom got involved in a lawsuit alleging that Trump and the late financier Jeffrey Epstein raped a 13-year-old girl together at a party at Epstein's New York residence in the '90s. Bloom announced she was representing the accuser and held a press conference for the Jane Doe to make her first public appearance. 

She did not appear. Bloom approached the podium alone and announced that, due to death threats, her client was too afraid to appear publicly. To other Times reporters, it seemed like a stunt to garner media attention that benefitted Bloom. Later, the attorney said she dropped the case because the woman was too afraid to ever go public. 

Bloom also acknowledged that she solicited funding from pro-Hillary Clinton donors for her work with the Jane Doe victim. After the lawsuit was dropped, Bloom had collected $700,000 for security and relocation fees, as well as a "safe house" for other potential Trump accusers. She returned $500,000, but kept $200,000 for "out-of-pocket expenses." 

As Twohey and Kantor write in "She Said," the entire incident gave Trump ammunition to attack his accusers by suggesting that "four or five women [...] got paid a lot of money to make up stories about me." Bloom's donations and preparations for potential Trump victims coupled with real Trump accusers, then twisted and amplified by the president's rhetoric, gave Trump a story to stand on.

Bloom is currently representing accusers of Jeffrey Epstein, but her reputation may have taken a hit.

REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

Lately, Bloom has taken on a new role defending women, this time using her firm to represent some of Jeffrey Epstein's accusers. She and her mother both represent women who have testified that Epstein abused them. 

The actress Rose McGowan, who Bloom directly planned a smear campaign against, has spoken out since the publication of "She Said." 

"Her email is staggering. Staggering!" McGowan told Variety. "This woman should never work again." The actress suggested that both Bloom and David Boies, another member of Weinstein's legal team who also currently represents Epstein accusers, should be disbarred.

Along with McGown, other actresses and public figures have criticized Bloom's role in representing Weinstein. Both Busy Philipps and Mandy Moore have denounced the memo's contents on Twitter, with the former noting "[...] how beyond horrible if you are a victim she currently represents and you read this memo."

"I hope this book will go a long way to exonerating me and the other victims who've dealt with slander and mental assault for years now," McGowan told Variety.  "As for me, in Hollywood I suppose I'll continue not working. It doesn't make any sense, and it's really hurtful.

"But in my own life, I'm incredibly happy now and feeling very balanced. And that's something they can't take from me."