As libel no longer is a crime in America, the victim had to seek justice through civil litigation.
The jury will determine damages later, but payment will come only after publisher Jann Wenner runs out of appeals or the victim of his libel -- Nicole Eramo -- agrees to settle out of court.
She sought $7.5 million for the defamation. A fraternity libeled by Wenner has a separate libel suit against the magazine and its reporter.
From the Washington Post:
The story opened with a graphic depiction of a fraternity gang rape that went viral online and sent shock waves across the U-Va. campus community. But within days of the article’s publication, key elements of the account fell apart under scrutiny. The magazine eventually retracted the story in April 2015.
Eramo’s lawsuit came a month later, alleging that the magazine’s portrayal of her as callous and dismissive of rape reports on campus was untrue and unfair.The victim of Rolling Stone's rape of her good name faced tremendous odds in her pursuit of justice.
According to testimony, that was after Erdely and her editors at the magazine already knew that Jackie was an unreliable source.
In order to find Rolling Stone liable for defamation, the jury believed that Erdely and the magazine acted with actual malice.
In other words, they published the story knowing it contained false information or they acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
Actual malice is a tougher standard for the jury to rule on than negligence. And the jurors have to consider it because a judge ruled that Eramo is a public figure with regards to this case.Think of this as a product liability from an industry that is well-protected by the federal government, sort of like tobacco was until the Surgeon General's report in 1964.
By the way, these guys at Got News were the first media to report Jackie Coakley lied about being raped.
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