Per The Hollywood Reporter, a judge decided on Friday to permit an expansion of Dr. Luke’s defamation suit against Kesha Rose Sebert—an ongoing lawsuit filed in response to the singer’s 2014 civil suit alleging that the music producer raped and abused her while they were working together. (Dr. Luke, a.k.a., Lukasz Gottwald, produced much of Kesha’s debut album, 2010's Animal, and follow-up EP, 2010's Cannibal, and released 2012 sophomore LP Warrior through his Sony imprint, Kemosabe Records.)
The expansion, which The Hollywood Reporter deems “aggressive,” could potentially find Kesha culpable for how she and her representatives have discussed the case and Kesha’s allegations in the press. This is unusual, The Hollywood Reporter notes, as “statements made by lawyers in the course of litigation are often deemed privileged and non-actionable.”
New York Supreme Court justice Jennifer Schecter authorized the expansion after reviewing evidence presented by Dr. Luke that paints Kesha’s 2014 rape allegations and the civil suit that followed as some elaborate, meticulously planned media strategy to get Kesha out of her contract.
In one May 25, 2012, email exchange, for instance, her manager Ken Levitan told colleagues he had dinner with Kesha the night before and she “beyond despises Luke.” Irving Azoff, the powerful music industry figure, responded, “Get me in the mix. I will ruin him.” Levitan later replied, “We need the album done and its close...there are huge hits on it...let’s ruin him after he delivers.”
The conversation on how to slam him in the press continued and would later involve Sunshine Sachs, which in a memo, stated, “Our goal is to help extricate CLIENT K from her current professional relationship with PERSON L by inciting a deluge of negative media attention and public pressure on the basis of the horrific personal abuses presented in the lawsuit.”
After reviewing the evidence—including an email exchange in which Kesha’s PR team and TMZ reps discuss the complaint before her attorney filed it—Schecter wrote that one “could possibly conclude that the California complaint was a sham maliciously filed soley to defame plaintiffs as part of Kesha’s alleged campaign to destroy Gottwald as leverage to renegotiate her contracts.”
Kesha’s third album, Rainbow, was released through Kemosabe and RCA in 2017. She is contractually obligated to work on two more albums with Dr. Luke.