Lawyers for the former University of Virginia student whose fabricated rape claims are the subject of a now-debunked Rolling Stone article are asking a federal judge for reimbursement from a dean at the school who is suing the magazine for defamation.
In papers filed in the Western District Court of Virginia on Wednesday, lawyers for Jackie Coakley accused UVA associate dean Nicole Eramo of engaging “in a concerted and continuous assault” on the ex-student “aimed at inflicting as much embarrassment, harassment, and harm as possible.”
“But enough is enough,” write lawyers for the firm Stein Mitchell and the Central Virginia Legal Aid Society, who are representing Jackie pro bono.
“Despite being entitled to seek reimbursement for the excessive costs of responding to third party discovery from the beginning, Respondent has not previously done so,” they state.
“Respondent respectfully requests this Court deny Plaintiff’s Motion in all respects, and award Respondent all costs and fees expended in responding to [subpoenas].”
Eramo has sought various records from Jackie — including correspondence with friends — as part of her $7.5 million lawsuit against Rolling Stone and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the reporter whose article “A Rape on Campus” reported Jackie’s claims that she was gang raped by seven fraternity members at a campus party in Sept. 2012.
Eramo says that Erdely’s article, which relied only on Jackie’s claims, portrayed her as a villain. The 9,000-word piece asserted that Eramo failed to help Jackie after she claimed to have been gang-raped. She was also portrayed as caring more about UVA’s reputation than about the welfare of sexual assault victims.
But mere weeks after “A Rape on Campus” was published, Jackie’s claims and Erdely’s reporting came under intense scrutiny. Three of Jackie’s friends came forward to dispute her claims about events that took place on the night of the alleged rape. It also came to light that Jackie created a fake persona — a UVA student named “Haven Monahan” — in order to make one of her friends jealous. That friend, a UVA student named Ryan Duffin, was one of the three people who showed up to help Jackie on the night she claimed she was raped.
Jackie reportedly claimed that “Haven Monahan” was involved in her attack.
Eramo’s lawyers have asked Jackie’s for email records in an effort to prove that “Haven Monahan” was created out of thin air. The request is part of a larger effort to find out what Jackie told Erdely about the alleged gang rape.
Jackie’s lawyers have acknowledged that they accessed the “Haven Monahan” Yahoo! email account. But in their latest filing they claim that they accessed the account “solely for the purpose of further confirming that no responsive documents exist even arguably in Respondent’s possession, custody, or control.”
The attorneys, who insist on calling their client a “sexual assault victim,” say that Eramo has made excessive demands of Jackie which are “grossly improper and must stop.”
“This empty threat was meant to intimidate a former student and sexual assault victim that Dean Eramo had counseled into cooperating with her efforts to seek millions of dollars from defendants,” the lawyers write. (RELATED: You Can Finally Reads UVA Jackie’s Bizarre Catfishing Texts)
Lawyers for both sides have battled for months over discovery issues, including text messages and a deposition for Jackie. Eramo’s lawyers pressured Jackie’s to produce text messages that Jackie sent as herself and as “Haven Monahan” to her crush, Ryan Duffin.
They showed the depth of Jackie’s “catfishing” scheme. In one series of texts as “Haven Monahan,” Jackie claimed that she suffered from lupus. “Monahan” also claimed after the alleged gang rape that Jackie “promised she wouldnt report anythin if I didn’t talk about her or to her.”
Jackie was finally deposed in April.