A former employee of Harvey Weinstein accused him in a lawsuit on Tuesday of sexually and physically assaulting her for years and threatening to ruin her career if she denied his sexual advances or told anyone about them.
The lawsuit by Alexandra Canosa, a producer on the Netflix show “Marco Polo,” was the second lawsuit filed against the former film producer this week, after Ashley Judd sued Mr. Weinstein on Monday over claims that he harmed her career after she rejected his sexual requests.
In her lawsuit, Ms. Canosa alleged that Mr. Weinstein sexually assaulted her from 2010 to 2014, often in hotel rooms in New York and Los Angeles. She said he continued to threaten her to stay silent up until September, a few weeks before The New York Times and The New Yorker published stories about years of sexual misconduct and assault allegations against Mr. Weinstein.
Ms. Canosa said he insisted on meeting her in “isolated environments for business purposes,” including in hotel rooms in Hungary and Budapest. Mr. Weinstein “threatened plaintiff if she would not give him what he wanted,” and forced himself on her “despite repeated requests to stop,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
Ms. Canosa has worked for Mr. Weinstein or his media companies since 2010, the lawsuit said, and was an associate producer on “Marco Polo,” which lists Mr. Weinstein as an executive producer.
Phyllis Kupferstein, a lawyer for Mr. Weinstein, did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday morning. In a statement to CNN, she called Ms. Canosa “a friend who had worked for The Weinstein Company for 10 years, traveled the world for the company and held several influential roles.”
Ms. Kupferstein continued, “From someone who has been thought of as a good friend, involved only in a consensual relationship, these claims are not only mystifying to Mr. Weinstein, but deeply upsetting, and they cannot be supported by the facts.”
The latest legal front against Mr. Weinstein came on the same day that the New York attorney general’s office announced that it would open an investigation into the Manhattan district attorney’s handling of a 2015 sexual assault allegation against Mr. Weinstein that was not prosecuted.
Acting on a request from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the office of the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said it would appoint a special deputy in the coming days to review the interactions between the New York Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr.
Mr. Vance declined to press charges in 2015 against Mr. Weinstein despite what the police said was evidence of a misdemeanor sexual assault against a 22-year-old model from Italy. The special deputy, whose name has not yet been announced, will be asked to produce a report on the interactions between the police and Mr. Vance’s office during the case.
The model, Ambra Battilana, reported to the police in March 2015 that Mr. Weinstein had groped her during a business meeting the night before. The next day, Ms. Battilana met him in a TriBeCa hotel room while wearing a wire as undercover officers were listening and asked him why he had touched her breasts.
“Oh, please, I’m sorry, just come on in,” Mr. Weinstein told her, encouraging her to enter his hotel room, according to the recording. “I’m used to that. Come on. Please.”
“You’re used to that?” she replied.
“Yes,” he said, adding, “I won’t do it again.”
Mr. Vance’s office spent two weeks investigating the alleged assault but determined it could not prove that a crime of forcible touching or third-degree sexual abuse had been committed, despite the audio recording, the district attorney later said. Prosecutors believed it would be hard to prove Mr. Weinstein touched Ms. Battilana for sexual reasons.
Behind the scenes, though, Mr. Weinstein dispatched a team of defense lawyers and publicists to undermine Ms. Battilana’s credibility, a tactic employed by Mr. Weinstein for decades to silence allegations and threaten accusers.
Mr. Cuomo requested in March that Mr. Schneiderman open an investigation into the handling of the 2015 case, after Time’s Up, the star-powered organization dedicated to fighting sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond, asked him in a letter to review Mr. Vance’s decision.
“We are committed to pursuing a comprehensive, fair and independent investigation,” Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Mr. Schneiderman, said on Tuesday.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office is currently investigating other assault allegations against Mr. Weinstein, including that he twice raped the actress Paz de la Huerta. In Mr. Cuomo’s request to Mr. Schneiderman, he asked that the review of Ms. Battilana’s case not interfere with those open investigations.