Jackie, the former University of Virginia student whose fabricated claims about being gang-raped by fraternity members in 2012 appeared in Rolling Stone exactly one year ago, is refusing to turn over emails and phone records of her correspondence with her friends and with the article’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that Jackie’s attorney, Palma Pustiknik, claimed in a recent court filing pertaining to a $7.5 million defamation lawsuit filed by UVA dean Nicole Eramo that Jackie’s “privacy and dignity” will be violated and that she will be subjected to “extreme harm” if the records are provided.
Jackie is not a defendant in the lawsuit. Instead, Eramo is suing Erdely, Rolling Stone, and its parent company, Wenner Media, for $7.5 million in damages.
In the 9,000-word bombshell, which was published online on Nov. 19, 2014, Erdely portrayed Eramo as not caring about Jackie’s claim that she was gang-raped by seven members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity during a house party in Sept. 2012.
The alleged actions of the fraternity members and Eramo’s alleged blind-eye sent shockwaves across the nation. But the article soon fell apart as it was revealed that Jackie made the story up.
Rolling Stone retracted the article. Will Dana, a managing editor at the magazine, resigned. And while Erdely is still employed by the magazine, she has gone into hiding.
Eramo’s attorneys believe that Jackie’s correspondence with Erdely and with her friends will shed light on whether the reporter — and Rolling Stone — should have believed the student’s claims and put them in print.
In a letter sent on Oct. 30, Clare dismissed Pustiknik’s argument that disclosure of her emails and phone records would intrude on her privacy are “meritless.”
“As noted, [Jackie] voluntarily discussed her supposed sexual assault with Rolling Stone magazine knowing full well that this information would be published nationally in a prominent publication.”
“The article claims that after Jackie reported her assault to U.Va., Dean Eramo abused Jackie, discouraged Jackie from reporting her gang rape, intentionally coddled Jackie into doing nothing, and took no action in response to Jackie’s report — all, allegedly, to protect U.Va.’s reputation,” Eramo’s lawyer, Thomas Clare, wrote in a court filing, according to The Times-Dispatch.
“The documents sought by the subpoena will demonstrate that Rolling Stone’s story about Jackie is false and that, to the extent Rolling Stone claims it was relying on Jackie’s credibility, Rolling Stone knew or should have known that Jackie was not a reliable source on which to base the article.”
An independent review of Erdely’s article, “A Rape on Campus,” conducted by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism faulted Erdely and Rolling Stone for failures in basic journalism ethics. (RELATED: Rolling Stone Officially Retracts Its Report On UVA Rape Hoax)
Erdely first met Jackie in July 2014. Over the course of several interviews, Jackie refused to identify her alleged assailants by name. She also provided aliases for three friends she said were with her the night of her alleged attack.
Erdely went to print even without knowing for certain that Jackie’s attackers or her friends actually existed. Weeks after the article was published, Jackie’s friends came forward to dispute her story. On the night of the alleged attack, Jackie told them that she had been forced to perform oral sex on five men. She also showed no signs of the violent physical abuse she told Erdely she endured.
One of Jackie’s friends who was with her after she claims she was raped also shared an email allegedly sent by Jackie through a UVA student named “Haven Monahan.” In the letter,”Monahan” relayed Jackie’s intense feelings for the friend, Ryan Duffin.
One working theory of Jackie’s story is that she made it all up to get Duffin’s attention. In interviews last year, Duffin told The Daily Caller that Jackie was open about her crush on him.
In March, the Charlottesville police department released the results of its investigation and found no evidence to support Jackie’s story. Police also noted that when Jackie first told the story to Eramo in May 2013, the details were quite different than what appeared in Rolling Stone. (RELATED: Police Release Details Of UVA Rape Investigation)
Jackie met with Eramo again in April 2014 to complain that she had been assaulted by a group of men near campus. She again spoke of the alleged gang rape but declined to talk to police about it. Police also noted that Jackie had made inconsistent claims about the April 2014 assault, in which she said she was hit in the face with a beer bottle.
Eramo, who filed suit in May, has agreed to withhold Jackie’s last name from court filings at Pustilnik’s request, according to The Times-Dispatch. A hearing on whether the fabulist will have to turn over her records will be held in an Alexandria, Va. court on Friday.
Two other lawsuits are pending against Erdely and Rolling Stone. Three members of the falsely accused fraternity filed suit in federal court in July. And the school’s entire Phi Kappa Psi chapter filed a $25 million suit earlier this month.