Rolling Stone Reporter Takes Stand in Rape Story Case

Sabrina Erdely says 'Jackie' was completely convincing as a rape victim
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2016 11:04 AM CDT
Rolling Stone Reporter Takes Stand in Rape Story Case
Sabrina Erdely, center, enters the federal courthouse in Charlottesville, Va., on Monday.   (Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress via AP)

The Rolling Stone reporter currently being sued for defamation over a discredited and retracted story of gang rape at the University of Virginia took the stand this week to convince jurors that her source was utterly convincing, Charlottesville Newsplex reports. According to the Washington Post, Sabrina Erdely not only found "Jackie" credible but says her stories were so detailed and vivid that "I felt scared for her." Rolling Stone hopes jurors, who listened to two hours of Erdely's recorded interviews with Jackie, feel the same way. Nicole Eramo, a university administrator, has to prove that the magazine knowingly published false information—or at least should have known it was false—in order to win her $7.8 million defamation lawsuit, the Chicago Tribune reports.

A major part of Eramo's argument is that Erdely didn't contact important sources because she was afraid they would discredit Jackie's story. But Erdely testified that wasn't the case. She says tried to call Jackie's mom "many times" but "she never called back." She also says she tried to meet with Eramo multiple times but felt the university was "stonewalling me." She did admit that she regretted not contacting Jackie's friends, who saw Jackie on the night of the supposed attack. When asked if she ever felt like she was making Eramo personally, and not the university generally, the villain of her article, Erdely testified that she never did—another key point in the lawsuit. The trial is scheduled to wrap up next week. A second lawsuit against Rolling Stone—this one brought by the fraternity—is scheduled for next year. (More Rolling Stone stories.)

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