T. Rees Shapiro, who did good work back in 2014 breaking the U. of Virginia night of broken glass hoax, reports in the Washington Post:
By T. Rees Shapiro April 8 at 8:31 PM
The lawsuit against Rolling Stone filed by University of Virginia associate dean Nicole Eramo proceeded this week with the deposition of the central figure of the magazine’s discredited account of a fraternity gang-rape.
The former U-Va. student known as “Jackie” in the 2014 Rolling Stone article sat for a lengthy deposition Thursday at an undisclosed location. A judge has barred lawyers and those involved with the case from discussing details of what Jackie said under-oath about her account of being assaulted.
Eramo filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Rolling Stone for what she described in legal filings as the magazine’s portrayal of her as callous and indifferent to Jackie’s claims. Rolling Stone retracted the article in 2015 after the Columbia Journalism School confirmed that the account was deeply flawed.
[Attorneys for ‘Jackie’ in Rolling Stone lawsuit protest under-oath deposition, say it could ‘re-traumatize’ her]
In court documents, Eramo’s lawyers described Jackie as a serial fabulist who made up her gang-rape allegations in a bizarre and unsuccessful scheme to win the pity and romantic interest of a classmate.
In a statement to The Washington Post, Eramo’s lawyers declined to comment on the details of the deposition.
“Although I’m not allowed to speak about the substance of what Jackie said during the deposition, I can say that we feel that Nicole’s case is very strong,” said Libby Locke, a lawyer for Eramo. “It got stronger after yesterday’s deposition. And we expect that it will continue to get stronger as we pursue discovery against Rolling Stone.”
Lawyers for Jackie did not return a request for comment.
It would seem to me that Americans have a public interest justification in getting these proceedings unbound.
I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some kind of quasi-coordinated effort to make coverage of his luridly hilarious story that is so representative of the lunacy of our age as dull as possible: don’t mention Jackie’s last name, don’t mention Haven Monahan, don’t mention catfishing. Dull, dull, dull … My guess would be that Rolling Stone’s lawyers are playing a game of keeping the whole story as boring as possible.
Could a public interest law group file a motion to put all this into the public record? One of the lessons of the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight was that reporters really need access to sworn testimony to fully expose scandals. Without official documents to quote, everything sounds too boring to matter.