Trial begins in Eramo's lawsuit against Rolling Stone

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- A defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone has gotten underway in Charlottesville.

Former University of Virginia Dean Nicole Eramo is suing the magazine for almost $8 million because of an article two years ago that gained national attention.

A jury has been seated comprised of ten people, two men and eight women. Three of the jurors are alternates.

They were picked after six hours of deliberation.

More than 100 people were in the jury pool, and they were asked several questions by the judge.

The potential jurors had to explain if they knew about the case and if they watched the ABC 20/20 special that aired on Friday.

All but nine of the potential jurors said yes to the questions.

The judge also asked if anyone has any connection to UVA, and most of the people in the courtroom stood up.

The attorneys also got to ask questions. Eramo's attorneys specifically asked if the jurors thought it was important for journalists to get their facts correct.

On the Rolling Stone side, the attorneys asked anyone thought the magazine and Sabrina Erdely, who wrote the debunked the article, had done anything wrong.

The jury will determine if the magazine defamed Eramo in its portrayal of her in the article "A Rape on Campus."

Attorneys also read a list of witnesses they intend to call to testify, including the main subject of the article, a young woman known only as "Jackie." They intend to call Eramo, Erdely and others.

One of those potential witnesses is Emily Renda, a former staff member at UVA and a sexual assault survivor who connected Erdely and "Jackie."

Ryan Duffin may also be called to testify. He is a former UVA student whom Eramo's attorneys say "Jackie" was trying to attract.

A third potential witness is Alex Pinkleton, "Jackie's" friend who alerted Eramo that the story of the rape may have been fabricated.

Eramo's attorneys are trying to prove that Rolling Stone published lies about her in an article that claimed "Jackie" was gang-raped at a party at a UVA fraternity.

The Charlottesville Police Department says there is no evidence such an incident ever happened.

Monday's proceedings wrapped up with the court reading the article to the jury.

The trial will resume Tuesday in federal court.



 
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