Business News Industry People Legal

Russell Simmons denies rape allegations under oath

By | Published on Monday 3 June 2019

Russell Simmons

Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has made a deposition strongly denying one of the allegations of sexual assault that has been made against him. His statement under oath was made public last week, as an August date was set to consider Simmons’ bid to have a lawsuit filed by his accuser dismissed by summary judgement.

Various accusations of rape and sexual harassment were made against Simmons last year in the wake of the #MeToo movement. A number of women came forward after model Keri Claussen Khalighi and screenwriter Jenny Lumet went public with their allegations in November 2017. Two lawsuits followed, though one was subsequently dismissed at the request of both parties a few months later.

The other lawsuit is ongoing. In it an unnamed woman says Simmons raped her in 1988. She claims that she met the Def Jam co-founder while at a concert with her son, and that later that same night he pressured her to accompany him to his hotel room. It is there that she alleges an attack took place.

Simmons denies the allegations and has tried to have the lawsuit dismissed, citing the statute of limitations relating to allegations of sexual assault.

His accuser’s lawyer subsequently said that the one time hip hop mogul was using a legal technicality to avoid having to answer questions about the alleged assault while under oath. Then in April, the accuser herself told The Blast that Simmons had relocated to Indonesia in a bid to avoid giving a deposition.

Reps for Simmons hit back at those claims insisting that, while their client has been living in Bali of late, he has still been back and forth to the US during that time. The deposition in which Simmons formally denied the allegations made against him seemingly followed after that media spat, it being provided from Bali.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Simmons said: “I am horrified at the false allegations made against me in the complaint. I do not know and I have never heard of plaintiff. Her allegation that I committed sexual battery and threatened to rape her son is absurd, shameful, and untrue. I have never had non-consensual sex with plaintiff or anyone else”.

Legal reps for Simmons also continue to stress that the statute of limitations means that the accuser cannot pursue this case, despite her lawyers employing another legal technicality to argue that said statute of limitations should not apply.

In the application for summary judgement, the Simmons side alleges that his accuser is lying in a bid to pressure him into making a financial settlement. They then seek to damage the reputation of the accuser, claiming that she once filed for bankruptcy and another time pled guilty to prostitution. “In short, plaintiff has no corroboration or credibility in what we believe to be an effort to publicly extort Mr Simmons”, his legal reps conclude.

We now await the judge’s summary judgement call in August with interest. Meanwhile, others have noted that, in his deposition, Simmons didn’t just deny the claims that have been made in this case, but also said, “I have never had non-consensual sex with plaintiff or anyone else”. Which might interest lawyers working for other women who have made allegations against Simmons, as that statement was given under oath.