From Just Me to #MeToo to Not You -- Part II
In the last 40 years, I have counseled, represented, supported and cried with thousands of women, many of them students in those criminal law classes, many of them telling their stories for the first time.
And that is why I believe that when a group comes together to abuse the power we have fought so long and paid so dearly for, the most powerful tools we have in the legal system are the ones we need. RICO, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970, is one of those tools, allowing for civil actions against an "enterprise" that is organized, as this one was, not only to defame but also to extort, abusing the legal system, wrapping lies in privileges as to which they cannot support.
The suit I filed earlier this month on behalf of Apollo founder Leon Black names the woman who filed the spurious complaints after being caught demanding $100 million or she would tell his family, his business and the media about their consensual affair (even in threatening him, she never suggested any kind of assault); the law firm that filed the complaints that they had to know weren't true and then aggressively marketed the more scurrilous lies; and the John Does who ran and funded the campaign to label a man a rapist for what he himself described as a "regrettable" relationship.
It's a strong step to deal with the abuse of a powerful weapon, lest the backlash that is sure to explode, explode in the face of the victims to come. Because eventually, lies do get exposed, and liars face consequences (a penalty for wasting police resources, an indictment for extortion, for instance). The possibilities are endless but come too late for those destroyed by the accusations that they lack the resources or support to fight.
My client has the resources to fight. He has a friend in me. I offered to help him because for me, being someone's lawyer is a special kind of friendship and also because it makes me furious to see a movement I so cherished be perverted by one who has no right to claim its mantle.
In responding to the suit I conceived of and filed, the lead lawyer, who filed the complaints, attacked my old law firm: "This is an obvious act of retaliation. It is disheartening to learn that Quinn Emanuel, despite the firm's marketing campaign to represent sexual assault victims, is now defending Leon Black and suing a rape survivor and the law firm representing her. We look forward to defending ourselves against these ludicrous allegations."
It's true that I asked my old friend and partner John Quinn to be my co-counsel. But I'm the one who was the primary author of that complaint.
From the day I walked out of that alley, I have posed as a survivor. Look at me. I made it. I wanted the women who came to me for help, my students, my listeners on the radio, my readers, to believe they would make it, too. But I know the secret.
I'm not a rape survivor going after a survivor. I'm a victim. And she's a fraud.
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