Judge rules ‘Jackie’ in Rolling Stone article must give deposition

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ruled that a former University of Virginia student who claimed she was the victim of a gang rape will have to give her deposition Thursday in a defamation lawsuit filed by a university dean who says she was portrayed as nonresponsive and indifferent in a now-retracted Rolling Stone expose.

In an order released Tuesday, Western District of Virginia Chief Judge Glen Conrad denied a motion to quash a subpoena requiring the student, referred to as “Jackie” in the article, to submit herself to questions from attorneys representing U.Va. Associate Dean Nicole Eramo.

The ruling says Eramo’s lawyers and Rolling Stone’s attorneys can each question “Jackie” for 3 1/2 hours.

The judge’s ruling says recordings and transcripts of the depositions “shall be marked as confidential.”

“Jackie’s” attorneys have argued against her having to testify, in part because she is not being sued in Eramo’s lawsuit.

In addition, lawyers for “Jackie” have said she would be retraumatized by having to answer questions about her story that she was sexually attacked during the course of several hours by seven men in a fraternity house bedroom.

Charlottesville Police determined there was no evidence that a sexual assault happened. But attorneys for “Jackie” argue being forced to answer questions will “gravely harm this nonparty, sexual assault victim.”

Eramo’s attorneys, Libby Locke, issued a statement on the ruling.

“Jackie was Rolling Stone’s sole source for the false tale of rape that it recklessly published. There were numerous red flags in Jackie’s account, which put Rolling Stone on notice that she was not a credible source for information. Nevertheless, Rolling Stone was dead set on portraying Dean Eramo as a callous administrator who discouraged Jackie from reporting an assault to police — when in fact, it appears that Jackie knew that her tale of rape would not have stood up under real scrutiny and investigation. Had Rolling Stone done the fact-checking and digging that they were legally and ethically required to do as journalists, Dean Eramo would not have been so wrongfully targeted.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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