Erdely continues testifying in defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- Sabrina Erdely is back on the stand, talking about her retracted article, which is at the center of a defamation lawsuit filed by a former University of Virginia dean.

Friday is day five in the trial against Rolling Stone for the article "A Rape on Campus," in which a woman known only as Jackie claimed she was gang raped by a several men at a fraternity party.

The jury listened to a recording of a conversation between Erdely and Jackie that was recorded in September of 2014, two months before the article was published.

Erdely's attorney is using the tape in an effort to show that Jackie was convincing in her story of a sexual assault and to help explain how Erdely believed her.

In the recording, Jackie sounds upbeat and energetic, but she describes her depression and struggle after the alleged assault, including saying she gained weight, stopped going out and getting into an emotionally abusive relationship. Jackie also claims to suffer from undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.

Jackie is also heard telling Erdely about a tattoo she got to memorialize the assault and her ability to overcome it.

"Did it ever occur to you that a human being would get a tattoo on their body to commemorate something that never happened," asked Erdely's attorney.

"Never," Erdely replied.

The attorney repeatedly stopped the tape to point out the great detail that Jackie used when describing people and events.

She is also heard talking about two other women that were allegedly raped at the same fraternity, going so far as to describe one of these women in great detail even though Erdely's attorney says the woman may not exist.

Jackie described a recurring nightmare she had about the assault, the details of which Erdely said were convincing, and Jackie was forthcoming with the information.

"It was like drinking from a fire hose when you were with Jackie," said Erdely. "She just talked and talked."

According to Erdely, Jackie was so conscientious about the details, but when there was a limitation to her memory, she was honest about it.

In court on Friday, Erdely talked about a sexual assault expert who told her he believed UVA was more egregious inits handling of sexual assaults than other schools.

She also said her research suggested that gang rapes are more common in fraternities than in other college settings.

She said, "Creates a bubble in which everyone is emulating each other's behavior."

On the tape that was played, Jackie also spoke about Nicole Eramo, the former dean who filed the defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone because of her portrayal in the retracted article.

During this conversation, the jury heard Jackie say to Erdely that Eramo had asked her what parents would would want to send their daughters to a rape school.

That quote in the article is one of the ones at the center of Eramo's lawsuit against Erdely, the magazine and the magazine's publisher.

This was the second full day of testimony from Erdely.

Testimony is set to continue Saturday, and the next witnesses will include the Rolling Stone fact checker and a former UVA student.

A recording of Jackie's deposition will be played in court at some point, but it's not clear when that will happen.

Because the court has decided to protect Jackie's identity, the video will not be shown to court watchers, but her voice will be heard.

The trial is scheduled to last through next week.



 
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