October 12, 2016

ASHE SCHOW: Rolling Stone accuses U.Va administrator of leaking video, wants trial delayed.

Rolling Stone is accusing a University of Virginia dean of leaking a confidential deposition video relating to a lawsuit against the magazine over a now-retracted article involving a gang-rape hoax at the school.

Lawyers for Rolling Stone, its publisher and the author of the article claim that dean Nicole Eramo, who is suing the magazine for defamation, leaked video of a deposition to ABC News to use in an upcoming “20/20” documentary of the case. The feature is supposed to air three days before the trial.

The magazine requested an emergency motion to disallow the video from the trial, fearing the ABC feature could hurt the defense’s case. The magazine also wants Eramo to be held in contempt. On Tuesday, a federal judge granted the magazine’s motion to bar the video depositions from being used at trial.

“[U]ndoubtedly, many citizens in the Charlottesville Division will watch this sensationalized television broadcast about the University located in their backyard, or will access the program online,” wrote Rolling Stone attorney W. David Paxton in court documents. “In the aftermath, seating an impartial jury in Charlottesville will be difficult, if not impossible.”

Rolling Stone has also requested ABC not use the video in its upcoming feature. Should ABC refuse and the show goes ahead as scheduled, then the magazine wants the case transferred to another district and the trial postponed.

One of the videos in question shows Rolling Stone author Sabrina Rubin Erdely crying during her testimony, which ABC used in its trailer for the show.

Eramo’s attorney has responded by saying the depositions were in the public domain.

“It is highly ironic that Rolling Stone, a media company, is complaining about the media having access to testimony that is already in the public domain,” Eramo’s attorney said. “These depositions were filed publicly with the court for anyone to see. This is little more than a tactic by Rolling Stone to delay the trial.”

Media folks do seem to have different standards for people who are, and who aren’t, media folks.

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