3:53pm PT by Ashley Cullins
Russell Simmons Can’t Knock Out Rape Suit With Opponent’s Email
Russell Simmons can't end a lawsuit from an anonymous woman who claims he raped her in 1988 because her lawyers gave him the date of the alleged incident as part of settlement negotiations.
Jane Doe in March 2018 sued the prolific producer for $10 million claiming she met him while at a rap concert with her son and later that night Simmons raped her in his hotel room and threatened her son. Her suit doesn't say when the alleged rape happened. Simmons says the lawsuit is an extortion attempt and claims the woman's lawyers told his attorneys the alleged incident happened in 1988, which puts it outside the statute of limitations.
Doe's lawyers argued that the email isn't admissible as evidence because it was sent as part of settlement negotiations. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Marc Gross denied Simmons' motion for summary judgment on those grounds.
"[A]dmissions made during the course of settlement negotiations are inadmissible," writes Gross. "Here, defendant relies on the email to prove plaintiff’s claims are barred. However, it is clear the information in the email was disclosed in the course of settlement negotiations."
In a footnote to a reply, Simmons' lawyers pointed out that Doe says the assault happened in a now-closed Clarion Hotel, which could be alternative proof that it was outside the two-year statute of limitations, but Gross says the news articles attached in support are hearsay. "[T]his is not simply new evidence but an entirely new argument that could have been raised in the moving papers," writes Gross. "Thus, the court, in its discretion, will not consider the new argument or evidence filed with the reply papers."
In a sworn declaration filed in May, Simmons says he's never had non-consensual sex. The full statement from his representatives and the order are below.
"Russell Simmons has, from the beginning, categorically denied these disgusting and purposely sensationalized allegations. He has repeatedly declared that he has never violated any woman, nor would he ever assault another human, let alone threaten a child.
"In hiding the identity of the accuser and even the alleged date of the accusation, an unscrupulous lawyer is attempting deny Mr. Simmons his basic constitutional rights to due process. The allegation claimed a date of 1988, asking for $10 million. After realizing that the extortionate claim would fail because 1988 is outside the statute of limitations, the plaintiff’s lawyer now refuses to provide the date of the alleged incident on a technicality. We fully expect the courts to see through this abuse of the legal system.
"Mr. Simmons has candidly chronicled every aspect of his entire life in countless books, interviews and articles for decades, and has submitted his claim of innocence to contemporaneous witness statements and an unprecedented 10 lie detector tests. Those who know him and his work see right through these desperate shakedowns."