On Tuesday, a judge ordered the unsealing of a deposition given by pop star Kesha in prior litigation with her former managers at DAS Communications. The sworn testimony appears to undercut allegations of sexual abuse made in a lawsuit filed last week against her producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald.
Before Kesha was locked in a battle with Dr. Luke, the two were on the same side of a courtroom fight with DAS, run by David Sonenberg.
According to the 2010 lawsuit, Kesha made a deal a decade ago with Dr. Luke, but then signed up for representation by DAS, which aimed to bring her over to Warner Bros. Records. DAS began examining the enforceability of Kesha’s recording agreement, and Dr. Luke’s attorneys were provided notice that Kesha was disavowing the deal.
Kesha would later return to Dr. Luke’s fold, setting off DAS’ lawsuit over owed commissions. DAS also sued Dr. Luke for allegedly interfering.
In response to the DAS lawsuit, Kesha’s legal papers say that she “was fortunate to have the attention and support of Dr. Luke,” but what was said privately in depositions figures to be most relevant now. That’s because Kesha has alleged in her latest lawsuit that Dr. Luke forced her to snort illegal drugs and also gave her a form of gamma-hydroxybutyrate, more commonly known as the date rape drug. Kesha has also claimed that on one occasion, she woke up “naked in Dr. Luke’s bed, sore and sick, with no memory of how she got there” and how she “immediately called her mother.”
Mark Geragos, Kesha’s lawyer, previously told THR that this happened when Kesha was 18.
But according to a 2011 deposition, she denied Dr. Luke ever gave her coke or a roofie. And when asked whether she ever told her mother Pebe that she woke up in a hotel room in Dr. Luke’s bed without memory of what had happened that night, she responded, “I don’t remember.”
Kesha also denied having an intimate relationship with Dr. Luke and said explicitly, “Dr. Luke never made sexual advances to me.”
Pebe also gave a deposition where she was asked if anyone before a meeting with Sonenberg had told her that Dr. Luke had slipped Kesha a date rape drug. The mother responded, “No.”
The mother also said she hadn’t heard anything from her daughter during Kesha’s early days with Dr. Luke about drugs.
In a statement last week, Dr. Luke’s attorney Christine Lepara had hinted that “another action” would provide “more than Luke’s word” that the abuse claims aren’t true. Since Kesha appears to never have filed any police reports about the abuse, the claims are built in some part on what’s known as a “fresh complaint,” or what was told to other witnesses like her family and friends in the aftermath of whatever happened.
Sworn testimony could be a big knock on the credibility of the allegations, though Geragos has made a pointed effort at trying to show how an intimidated Kesha was full of fear of Dr. Luke’s retaliation. In reaction to the revelation of the deposition, the attorney emphasizes paragraph 24 of Kesha’s lawsuit, which states, “Dr. Luke repeatedly threatened that if she ever told anyone about these abusive incidents, he would destroy both Ms. Sebert and her entire family… Ms. Sebert wholly believed that Dr. Luke had the power and money to carry out his threats; she therefore never dared talk about, let alone report, what Dr. Luke had done to her.”
Geragos paints the deposition comments as “coerced” statements and adds, “In every courtroom in every county, in battered women type of cases, you have equivocal statements of ‘I don’t know.’ This is part and parcel of sexual abuse.”
There’s also the prospect of Sonenberg’s own recollection, which could buttress Kesha’s lawsuit. According to DAS legal papers filed in the prior litigation, Kesha had told her former manager how Dr. Luke had “engaged in certain unethical and unlawful actions against her.”
- This story was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter