6:31pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Russell Simmons Says Jane Doe's Rape Lawsuit Is a "Vile" Extortion Attempt
Russell Simmons is fighting back against two lawsuits accusing him of rape — and claims the women behind them are using the #MeToo movement to extort him.
An anonymous woman sued Simmons for $10 million in March, alleging she met the producer at a hip-hop concert and he forced her to have sex with him in his hotel room after threatening her young son, whom she'd dropped off with a babysitter after the show. Simmons released a statement vehemently denying the allegations that same day.
In a demurrer to her complaint filed Tuesday, Simmons claims the lawsuit is "pure fiction" and says that the woman didn't mention the date of the alleged incident because it happened in 1988.
"Her use of two of the most vile allegations possible – accusing well known defendant Russell Simmons of threatening to molest her son before raping her – is nothing more than an attempt by 'Jane Doe' to extort large sums of money from Mr. Simmons and for her lawyer to try to make a name for himself," states the filing. "While Plaintiff's case is substantively baseless and utterly false, all three causes of action ultimately will fail on statute of limitations grounds."
Simmons' attorney Jill Basinger attached as an exhibit to the filing a March 28 exchange between herself and Doe's lawyer Douglas Mastroianni. Basinger characterized the complaint as baseless and legally barred, and requested a meeting or call to discuss the matter. In an email response, Mastrioanni described Basinger's letter as "amusing" and argued it didn't state any grounds for demurrer, encouraging her to "get it on file as soon as possible."
In the demurrer, Simmons' attorney argues that Doe fails to plead a cause of action for forcible rape, as she never mentions when the alleged incident occurred. The filing also notes that "forcible rape" isn't a "cognizable civil cause of action under California law" and demurrer is appropriate because the cause of action is uncertain and confusing.
Mastrioanni has not yet responded to a request for comment on the filing. A hearing on the matter is set for May 9.
Earlier this month, Simmons also responded to a $5 million sexual assault lawsuit filed by aspiring filmmaker Jennifer Jarosik in California federal court in January. She alleges he raped her in 2016. He maintains their sexual relationship was consensual, and is asking the court to dismiss her complaint with prejudice. (Read the filing here.)