Rolling Stone magazine seeks overturn of rape story verdict in Va. court

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By Alan Crosby

U.S. District Judge Glen Conrad heard arguments in Roanoke,
Virginia, on Rolling Stone’s request to throw out the November
jury verdict that found the magazine and reporter Sabrina Rubin
Erdely had defamed university administrator Nicole
Eramo.

Following a three-week trial last year, the jury found that
the magazine and author were guilty of actual malice, a key
element in libel law, in six statements in the November 2014
story “A Rape on Campus.”

The article played a key role in sparking a national debate
about sex assault on university campuses. While the article was
discredited as depicting an assault that never occurred, campus
sexual assault remains a very real problem, with some reports
estimating that one in five female students will be a victim
during their college years.

The magazine has argued in court papers that there is no
evidence that Erdely acted with actual malice in the story and
that the jury erred in finding that the story had been
republished.

The magazine’s story said that a female student identified
only as “Jackie” was gang raped at a university fraternity.
Rolling Stone retracted the story and a police investigation
found no evidence to support Jackie’s claims.

Eramo accused the magazine of portraying her as the story’s
villain and as being focused on hushing up sexual assault
reports.

Conrad has not indicated when he might issue his ruling, the
spokeswoman said.



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