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Hollywood executive and Broadway producer Gary Goddard, who is one of four men sued last month in Hawaii by Michael Egan III for teen sex abuse that allegedly occurred there in 1999, filed a motion to dismiss the case against him Thursday for lack of jurisdiction, quoting Egan’s own sworn deposition from 2003 to demonstrate that Goddard was never in Hawaii with him and that Goddard never sexually abused him.
In addition, Goddard submitted copies of over 300 pages of receipts, theater and movie ticket stubs, and handwritten calendar pages to document his absence from Hawaii during the three-month time period at issue.
The filing comes a day after director Bryan Singer filed a similar motion and a week after defendant David Neuman too filed a similar motion. Neuman’s motion also cited a separate 2003 statement in which Egan said he’d “never had any kind of physical contact” with Neuman other than nonsexual social contact and that Neuman “never acted improperly.” Goddard’s motion also references Egan’s 2003 statement regarding Neuman.
“Gary Goddard’s sworn declaration, supported by detailed evidence, confirms that he was never in Hawaii during the period of time that Michael Egan alleges he was abused,” said Goddard’s attorneys, Paul Gaspari and Alan Grodin of Weintraub Tobin. “And it is supported by Egan’s own sworn deposition confirming that he was not in Hawaii either, and that no one other than those he accused in 2003 — which did not include Gary Goddard — had ever allegedly assaulted him. We have consistently asserted throughout this whole unfortunate matter that our client vehemently rejects the allegations made against him, which are provably false.”
The fourth defendant, Garth Ancier, has not yet filed a response to the suit against him, but like the others has flatly denied the allegations.
All three motions cite two passages in Egan’s deposition, which was taken in the course of a 2000 sex abuse lawsuit that Egan filed against three executives of the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network (DEN). In one passage, Egan says he’s “never had any trips outside the continental U.S.” with the 2000 defendants, contradicting assertions in the 2014 suit that he did go on such trips, with groups that he asserted included both the 2000 defendants and the 2014 defendants.
In another passage, Egan says in response to a question about “this thing that happened to you” that no one other than the 2000 defendants had been “partaking in all this stuff.”
The 2014 lawsuits, filed in Hawaii federal court against Singer, Goddard, Neuman and Ancier, cover much of the same time period and some of the same geography as the 2000 suit, yet the prior suit did not name or even mention the 2014 defendants.
Egan’s current counsel, Jeff Herman, has never offered an explanation for the omission despite publicly promising to provide one. Nor has Egan’s counsel in the 2000 suit, who represented him as recently as 2011, provided any explanation as to why the 2000 suit didn’t name the four men whom Egan sued last month. Indeed, Neuman, like the 2000 defendants, was a top DEN executive.
The four 2014 defendants were each sued separately, but all of the suits are before the same judge, Susan Oki Mollway. Singer’s and Goddard’s motions reserve the right to seek sanctions, while Neuman has already served a sanctions motion.
Herman and his media director did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Goddard’s motion to dismiss. However, Herman said last week, “Mike maintains that he was in Hawaii with the defendants and his mother maintains that she spoke to [2000 suit defendant] Chad Shackley and authorized him to take Mike to Hawaii on at least two occasions.”
In response to the Singer motion, Herman said, “I do have a response, but I am restricted in that I can only talk about what is in the court record. Many of the things being reported are being taken out of context or you’re only hearing one side of the story. At the appropriate time and in the appropriate venue, we will respond.”
Goddard acknowledges having met Egan and, indeed, offers documentation that he loaned Egan $25,000 in 2005 in connection with a potential business venture. Goddard says Egan never repaid the loan and instead “absconded” with the money.
Goddard apparently also knew two of the 2000 suit defendants, Marc Collins-Rector and Brock Pierce. Their names appear on a page from Goddard’s journal headed “Personal Contact / Follow Up 9 16 99” that lists 59 people Goddard apparently intended to be in touch with toward the end of that year. Collins-Rector, Shackley and Pierce fled the country in 2000 amid civil lawsuits — including the 2000 suit filed by Egan and others — alleging teen sexual abuse. They were ultimately found in Spain; Collins-Rector was extradited and pled guilty to federal teen sex abuse charges, while Shackley and Pierce were not charged with any crime.
Also on the list in Goddard’s journal are Singer, Ancier and “David Newman.” The next page, headed “Misc Personal Areas of Development,” includes a list of 10 company names, with dollar amounts next to them. First on the list is “D.E.N.”
Egan lives in Nevada and the four 2014 defendants in Los Angeles. The 2014 complaint premises the Hawaii court’s jurisdiction on the assertion that the alleged wrongful acts occurred there — but Egan’s sworn 2003 statements, which came to light last week, now cast doubt on the court’s jurisdiction and, indeed, on whether the allegations in the 2014 suit are true at all.
A hearing on Singer’s motion to dismiss is scheduled for July 7 and one on Neuman’s motion for July 28. The Neuman hearing had been set for July 7 as well, but that date represented a scheduling conflict for one of the lawyers. Egan’s responses to the motions are not yet due, and it’s unknown what approach Herman will take to the evidence that has surfaced.
Ultimately, Mollway has wide discretion in how to handle the motions: if she opts to decide them by simply reading the declarations and attachments, the legal burden of proof on Egan is quite light: thus, seemingly, if he declares that he was indeed in Hawaii with the 2014 defendants, that might suffice notwithstanding his apparently contradictory 2003 statements and Goddard’s voluminous evidence. The suit would then move forward and ultimately, at trial, a higher and more balanced standard of proof would apply: the “preponderance of the evidence” standard.
But the startling contrast between those statements and the new lawsuit, coupled with the white-hot publicity that Herman has sought and obtained in the case, may put pressure on the judge to resolve the jurisdictional matter more decisively, even if that inevitably means treading into an early resolution of the case itself.
If Mollway goes in this direction, she could order discovery — depositions, written questions and exchange of documents — on the issue of jurisdiction, and could even demand that the witnesses appear before her in open court and tell their apparently conflicting stories while she looks them in the eye. The preponderance of the evidence standard applies under such a procedure, just as it would in a full-blown trial. Such a hearing would be unusual, but not beyond the judge’s power, and might be the only way to reliably determine just who was on the island of Oahu in 1999.
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