A New York Supreme Court judge ruled on Thursday that singer Kesha defamed her former producer and label head Lukas "Dr. Luke" Gottwald. Judge Jennifer Schechter's entire decision is available online here, but just in case you don't feel like reading all 32 pages of it, here are the basics.
In 2014, the artist born Kesha Rose Sebert filed a civil suit against Gottwald, claiming sexual assault and emotional abuse. That case was dismissed in 2016, but Gottwald's countersuit—he alleges defamation and breach of contract—is ongoing.
According to Schechter, Dr. Luke and his legal team "met their heavy burden of establishing entitlement to judgment that Kesha published a false statement about Gottwald to a third party that was defamatory". This refers to a text Kesha admits she sent to Lady Gaga on February 26, 2016, in which she alleged that Dr. Luke had raped Katy Perry. The judge wrote in her decision that "Perry unequivocally testified that Gottwald did not [rape her]. In response, Kesha has not raised a triable issue. There is no evidence whatsoever that Gottwald raped Katy Perry, or that Katy Perry, whose sworn testimony is unrefuted, must not be believed."
Further, Kesha has been ordered to pay Gottwald's company US$374,000 related to late royalty fees.
“Today’s important decision by the Court in Dr. Luke’s lawsuit brings him closer to the justice that he seeks," Gottwald's attorney, Christine Lepera, said in a statement. "First, the Court has now ruled that she made a false and defamatory accusation about Dr. Luke when she baselessly claimed that he raped Katy Perry. Second, the Court rejected Kesha’s attempts to invoke legal technicalities to avoid responsibility for her statements. And third, the Court also correctly held that Kesha breached her contract with Dr. Luke’s company. Dr. Luke looks forward to the trial of his case where he will prove that Kesha’s other false statements about him were equally false and defamatory.”
Kesha’s lawyers have announced that they intend to appeal both rulings.
“Judge Schecter issued rulings today on motions for summary judgment in the Dr. Luke litigation,” the singer's legal team said in a statement. “We disagree with the Court’s rulings. We plan to immediately appeal.”